Salem, VA

Roanoke College will reinstate a football team, marching band and cheerleaders after an 81 year hiatus

Cheryl E Preston
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The local community assists Roanoke College in raising funds

When a community coines together dreams can come true as with Roanoke College. The Salem school has met a financial goal of 1.3 million that will lead to the reinstatement of a varsity football team, marching band, and cheerleaders. The school has not had a team since 1942 due to the constraints of World War II. Now 81 years later the sport is making a comeback.

Shortly after Frank Shushok Jr. became President at Roanoke College a study was done to evaluate the possibility of adding football, marching band, and competitive cheerleading. The results revealed these additions would increase enrollment and thanks to Roanoke Valley partners and the Maroon community the dream is becoming a reality.

The study also revealed that a football team, marking band, and cheerleaders would "increase student diversity, elevate campus spirit, attract more visitors to campus, and build stronger bonds with the local community. Roanoke College currently has a club cheerleading team.

A football team, marching band, and cheerleaders will soon be a reality

"The initial funds that have been raised will be utilized to hire coaches and meet start-up needs. These include "equipment, uniforms, and renovation of space for the three programs". The athletic director for Roanoke College will commission the process that will take place over the next year that will lead to the selection of a football coach, and player recruitment.

In April WFIR first broke the news that Roanoke College might possibly bring back the football program and the funds raised will also return two associated events to the school. In addition to moving forward with plans to reinstate a football team the money raised will also allow for the addition of co-curricular varsity cheerleading and marching band programs.

Full Press Release from Roanoke College 6/1/23 — Roanoke College has raised more than $1.3 million in funding that will allow the school to move forward with plans to reinstate football as a varsity sport and add co-curricular varsity cheerleading and marching band programs. Approximately $300,000 of the funds raised were contributed by local corporate sponsors. In April, the Roanoke College Board of Trustees approved a proposal to add the programs — on the condition that start-up funding of $1.2 million was in place by June 1.

The current plan from Roanoke College recommends minimizing costs for the additions with a conservative investment and upgrading existing underutilized facilities. The school will upgrade the Bast Center to accommodate "locker rooms, training facilities, offices, and a weight room while Alumni Field will be used for practicing. Salem Stadium, a 7,157-seat facility near Roanoke College’s Elizabeth Campus, which is the home of Salem High School’s Spartans,is being considered as the site of future games so it looks like everything is falling into place.

“The response to our fundraising has been incredible. So many members of our community are energized by the idea of a new football team at Roanoke — plus the spirit that a marching band and cheer team can bring. (”Kim Blair ’93, vice president of advancement).

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I am a native Virginian who writes, about breaking news, nutrition, history, celebrities, and current events that are of interest to those living in the Commonwealth.

Roanoke, VA

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