SALEM, Va. – Football is coming back to Roanoke College, along with the addition of cheerleading and marching band.
The school has raised more than $1.3 million which will go towards reinstating football as a varsity sport as well as establishing cheerleading and marching band. Around $300,000 of that was 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 secured by June 1.
The College’s current plan includes recommendations for minimizing costs with a conservative investment and upgrading existing underutilized facilities.
Alumni Field will be used for practice and the Bast Center will be upgraded to accommodate locker rooms, training facilities, offices and a weight room. The plan is for Salem Stadium, which can hold more than 7,000 fans, to be the site of future games.
The announcement of these programs comes after a feasibility study that was done shortly after the college’s president, Frank Shushock Jr., took on the role. The study showed that these programs would increase enrollment and student diversity, elevate campus spirit, attract more visitors and strengthen the bond between the school and the community.
“The response to our fundraising has been incredible,” said Kim Blair ‘93, vice president of advancement. “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. Our Maroon community and local Roanoke Valley partners stepped forward in a big way with the investments we need now. We are thankful for their commitment to help us grow and thrive. We met our first goal, and I’m optimistic about what the future holds.”
The initial funds that were raised will be used to hire coaches and address start-up needs such as equipment, uniforms and renovations.
Earlier this week, Roanoke College announced Curtis Campbell as the new director of athletics. he will be overseeing the process of selecting a coach, and player recruitment is set to happen over the next year.
“I am thrilled to work alongside Roanoke College leaders to reinstate a successful football program, along with marching band and competitive cheer. One of the first things we will do is begin the search process for coaches and determine how best to maximize space and secure the equipment needed to launch successfully,” Campbell said.
University officials aid that the program will start as a club sport in the fall of 2024 and work toward becoming a varsity program in 2025. The goal is to recruit 50 football players, 50 band members and 30 competitive cheerleaders as part of the fall 2024 entering class.