Businesses look forward to Roanoke College football

SALEM, Va. – Football is back at Roanoke College!

The school raised more than $1 million in 45 days to begin a program in the Fall of 2024.

Businesses near Roanoke College are looking forward to Fall 2024 when marching band members and cheerleaders will be encouraging the football team.

Most businesses along Main Street in Salem are looking forward to it because some say their income comes from students, so having the extra foot traffic is beneficial.

“We’re busiest when the college kids are in, that is the lifeblood of our business,” Benjamin Ward, a shop owner on Main Street in Downtown Salem said.

Ward is excited Roanoke College is adding more activities, including football, marching band, and cheerleading starting in the Fall of 2024.

Roanoke College President Dr. Frank Shushok said shortly after he arrived last year, Roanoke College conducted a study about adding football, marching band, and competitive cheerleading.

“I think it’s huge,” Shushok said. “It’s big news not just for Salem, but Roanoke, for Vinton, the whole surrounding area.”

The study determined it would help increase enrollment.

“We just think that football, marching band, and competitive cheerleading is another way to invite people to campus,” Shushok said.

Shushok says the new athletic director, Curtis Campbell will start recruiting this year which includes selecting a football coach.

Shushok said the $1.3 million dollars raised to start all three programs, will be used to hire coaches and meet start-up needs including equipment, uniforms, and renovation of space for the three programs.

While the goal is to sustain the new programs, in the long run, Shushok says they are in the early stages.

“We’re going to be building a team of people invested in the long haul,” Shushok said.

Which makes people like Ward smile — becoming a new fan.

“It feels good, knowing we have something to look forward to, we’re going to put the Rooney on the side of the building,” Ward said.

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