LEADER, MENTOR, ABOVE ALL, FRIEND
[Editor’s note: Independence Bowl Executive Director Missy Setters wrote this remembrance of 2017-18 Champions Award recipient Donnie Duncan.]
Twelve years ago, 2005, my previous Independence Bowl boss, Glen Krupica, left to take another job and I was given the position as Interim Executive Director. Prior to that time I had had very little interaction or dealings with either conference personnel or bowl leadership, as I had been the Independence Bowl media relations director the previous nine years.
Being new to the position, I didn’t have any real go-to people to help me out and I wasn’t sure whom to turn to in different situations. I tried not to bother Glen too much because he was in a new position and I didn’t want to be a burden to him.
I quickly learned the bowl leadership people I could always turn to for advice or a helping hand. There were a few who were always available to take my phone call or call me back. That list has grown a bit over the years and I have tremendous respect for those who are willing to help other bowl personnel when someone needs a question answered or seeks advice.
My background was media relations, both with the bowl and in my previous position with our local CFL team. At LSU I had worked in what was then called Sports Information. So there were many aspects of the Executive Director job that were extremely intimidating and way out of my comfort zone.
That said, I will never forget Donnie Duncan or what he did for my career. From the first time I called Donnie, he made me feel as if he had all the time in the world for me. With his background and work experience, he had every reason to be the exact opposite. I would not have been offended had he asked someone else take my calls or answer my questions.
But without fail, he took first-hand or quickly returned every one. It was as if he had carved out a few minutes of his day just for me. Donnie never treated me as if I was the new kid on the block. He treated me with respect that I hadn’t earned and showed me kindness in a world that isn’t always kind.
He always took the time to explain not only the answers to my questions but also helped me comprehend the big picture. He had a way of making everyone feel special.
I served in an interim capacity beginning in June of 2005. In early 2006 I needed to submit a resume in order to be considered for the position full-time. I called Donnie and asked if I could include him as a reference on my resume and he agreed.
That was a tremendous honor for me, and in all honesty, at the time I don’t think I understood the depth of his experience and accomplishments. I did know that he was a very special man who had a way of making others feel special, no matter what their job description was.
I was, am and always will be grateful for Donnie’s guidance, caring and leadership.