Roanoke Maroons

The Roanoke Maroons are the athletic teams that represent Roanoke College, located in Salem, Virginia, a suburban independent city adjacent to Roanoke, Virginia.

Roanoke Maroons
UniversityRoanoke College
ConferenceOld Dominion Athletic Conference
NCAADivision III
Athletic directorScott Allison
LocationSalem, Virginia
Varsity teams21
Basketball arenaCregger Center
Baseball stadiumHaley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark
Softball stadiumJames I. Moyer Sports Complex
Soccer stadiumDonald J. Kerr Stadium
Colors     Maroon and      Gray

Roanoke is an NCAA Division III member competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference; the Maroons were a founding member of the conference in 1976. The college fields varsity teams in 10 men's and 11 women's sports.

Varsity teams

List of teams


Roanoke athletics began in 1870 when the college fielded its first baseball team. The men's basketball program, added in 1911, received national recognition in 1939 when the team finished third in the National Invitational Tournament, the premiere postseason tournament of that era; and with more than 1,300 wins (almost 2,000 games played; better than 60% winning percentage over more than 90 years) is among the most successful in the nation. The "Five Smart Boys" of the 1937 through 1939 seasons were Guard John Wagner; 'Bounding' Bob Lieb; Forwards Paul Rice; Gene Studebaker and Center Bob Sheffield.[1] Frankie Allen, arguably the greatest men's basketball player in the history of Virginia college sports (2,780 points and 1,758 rebounds), graduated from Roanoke in 1971.

Men's lacrosse and men's basketball are the school's two most popular, and historically most successful, sports at the college. However, a number of other teams have made deep NCAA tournament runs and claimed ODAC titles in recent years. Most notably, the 2017 baseball team, who entered the ODAC Tournament as the conference's 6th seed, went on a run to win the title before sweeping the South Region and making an appearance in the College World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin. The team finished the season with a #3 national ranking.[2]

Conference and National Championships

Roanoke teams have won two team national championships:

The school also boasts two individual national championships:

  • 2001: Roanoke student Casey Smith won an individual national championship in the Division III women's 10,000m track and field event.
  • 2009: Robin Yerkes secured Roanoke's fourth national championship when she won an individual championship in the Division III women's 400m track and field event. Yerkes is the most decorated athlete ever to graduate from Roanoke, earning 12 All-American honors in multiple events.

Roanoke teams have won 101 conference championships (as of May 2013; 47 in men's sports, 54 in women's sports) since the college joined the ODAC as a founding member in 1976.[3] Roanoke has won more conference championships than any other ODAC school in men's lacrosse with 18 titles and women's basketball with 13 titles. Roanoke and Hampden-Sydney College are tied for the most conference championships in men's basketball with 10 titles each.


Roanoke's football program was discontinued during World War II after more than 60 years of competition.[4] Initially a club sport, the first varsity game occurred in 1892 against Allegheny Institute.[4] The final game was a 42–0 loss to Catawba College on November 13, 1942.[4]

In 1985, the Salem city government constructed an 8,000 seat stadium, Salem Football Stadium adjacent to Roanoke's Elizabeth Campus, two miles from the main campus, location of athletic fields and residence halls.[5] Constructed for Salem's public high school, many hoped the college would revive its football program and that the team would play in the stadium, but the college declined. The stadium hosts the annual NCAA Division III Football Championship game even though Roanoke does not compete in the sport.[5]


Roanoke and Washington and Lee University have been rivals for more than a century. The rivalry, strongest in men's lacrosse, is fueled by a long history of athletic contests; the schools have competed since the 1870s. The rivalry is also influenced by conference affiliation and geography; the schools are charter members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and are located within an hour drive of each other on Interstate 81. Both schools traditionally have nationally ranked men's lacrosse teams and are usually ranked in the top twenty when meeting late in the season. In addition to Washington and Lee, contests with Lynchburg College, Hampden-Sydney College, Randolph-Macon College, and Bridgewater College draw the most attention; all of which are members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

Roanoke and Virginia Tech were rivals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Virginia Tech was a small college. In 1877, the schools competed in Virginia Tech's first intercollegiate baseball game (Virginia Tech won 53–13), and in 1896, Virginia Tech first wore its current athletic colors – maroon and burnt orange – in a football game against Roanoke.[6][7] In 1895, Roanoke and Virginia Tech were charter members of the now defunct Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Association along with Randolph-Macon College, the University of Richmond, and the College of William and Mary, and in 1926, Roanoke and Virginia Tech played the inaugural football game at Virginia Tech's Miles Stadium.[6][8]

School colors

Roanoke has two sets of school colors, blue and gold for academic use and maroon and gray for athletic use.[9] This dates to 1907 when the baseball team needed new uniforms, but could not obtain any in blue and gold. Maroon and gray uniforms were purchased as a substitute. Within a few years, maroon and gray were adopted as Roanoke's official athletic colors. The college athletic nickname became Maroons as well. In recent years, black has been added as an accent color so Roanoke athletic uniforms are often maroon, gray, black, and occasionally white.

Nickname and mascot

Roanoke's athletic nickname is the Maroons and the mascot is Rooney, a maroon-tailed hawk.[10] The mascot was revealed on April 17, 2009 during the annual alumni weekend festivities.[11] Roanoke has competed as the Maroons for over 100 years, but it was only a color without a mascot to represent the college.


After beginning their history in the tiny, on-campus Alumni Gymnasium, the men's and women's basketball teams played their home games in the 6,820-seat Salem Civic Center arena beginning in 1968. While the team had a great deal of success there and won the program's only national title while calling the Civic Center home, its large size and off-campus location hindered it. In the mid-1980s, the school opened the 2,000 on-campus Bast Center, where the team played until 2016, when the state-of-the-art Cregger Center opened on-campus. The new arena seats 2,500 spectators and sits on a hill with magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Mountains

The baseball team formerly played at Kiwanis Field near downtown Salem, but now plays at Haley Toyota Field, home stadium of the Salem Red Sox, Carolina League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The softball team plays at the nearby Moyer Softball Complex, which notably hosts the NCAA Division III Women's College World Series, an event that Roanoke has qualified for most recently in 2012.

  • Basketball and Volleyball- Cregger Center (2,500)
  • Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer- Donald J. Kerr Stadium (3,000)
  • Baseball- Haley Toyota Field (6,300)
  • Softball- James I. Moyer Sports Complex (1,000)
  • Tennis- Elizabeth Campus Courts
  • Swimming- Salem Family YMCA
  • Track & Field- C. Homer Bast Track (outdoor), Cregger Center (indoor)

Individual sports



On January 28, 2012, the men's basketball team defeated Eastern Mennonite University to win the 1,300th game in program history.[12] Roanoke is one of only 20 NCAA Division III schools with that many victories. With the win, Head Coach Page Moir achieved 375 victories; he is the winningest coach in ODAC history.[13]

Roanoke completed the 2011–12 academic year with two ODAC championships: women's outdoor track and field and softball.[14][15] The softball championship was Roanoke's eighth in the sport, the most of any school in conference history. Roanoke finished second in the conference in golf and women's lacrosse.[16][17]

The softball team defeated Christopher Newport University to win the NCAA Division III Regional Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four. Roanoke ended the season ranked fourth in the nation after losses to Montclair State University and Linfield College.[18]

Roanoke athletes won the top ODAC scholar-athlete of the year awards; golfer Brandon Ketron won the men's award, track athlete Sarah Witt won the women's award.[19] Roanoke and Washington and Lee University are the only schools to win both awards in the same year. In addition, 91 Roanoke student-athletes were named to the ODAC All-Academic team.[20]

Shelley Olds, a 2003 graduate of Roanoke College, finished seventh in the women's road race at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the best result for an American cyclist since 1992.[21] Olds served as captain of the women's soccer team at Roanoke; she is a three-time national champion in two cycling disciplines, road and track.


Scott Allison retired as the head men's soccer coach in 2012 after 27 seasons with the program; in his final season, the team won the ODAC championship and advanced to the opening round of the NCAA Division III tournament.[22] Allison was named South Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year and Virginia College Division Coach of the Year; he continues to serve as Roanoke's director of athletics.[22][23]

Roanoke won a total of four ODAC championships during the 2012-13 academic year: men's soccer, women's indoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field, and men's lacrosse.[24][25][26] The men's soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament; the team was defeated by Emory University. The men's lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament as well, defeating Centre College before losing to Lynchburg College. The softball team advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament as an at-large seed; the team was defeated by Christopher Newport University and Emory University.

Roanoke placed 111 student-athletes on the 2012–13 ODAC All-Academic team, the most in college history.[27]


  1. Berman, Mark. 2018. "Kings of the Court: The Five Smart Boys." Roanoke Times. Discover History & Heritage. 2018. Pages 92-97.
  3. Roanoke College Athletics - Athletic Department
  4. A Guide to Historical Salem | Vol. 3 No. 3
  5. Salem Football Stadium
  6. "Historical Data Book, Section 2.8: Student Organizations". Retrieved October 14, 2008.
  7. "What is a Hokie? | Virginia Tech". Retrieved October 14, 2008.
  8. "Historical Data Book, Section 6.4: Athletic Facilities". Retrieved October 14, 2008.
  9. "Where did the name Maroons come from? – Roanoke College – Salem, Virginia". Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  10. "Roanoke's Rooney is a Hawk". Archived from the original on May 15, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  11. Roanoke College's new mascot lands on campus –
  12. Roanoke College Athletics - Men's Basketball
  13. Roanoke College Athletics - Men's Basketball
  14. Roanoke College Athletics - Women's Track and Field
  15. Roanoke College Athletics - Softball
  16. Roanoke College Athletics - Golf
  17. Roanoke College Athletics - Women's Lacrosse
  18. Roanoke College Athletics - Softball
  19. Roanoke College Athletics - Golf
  20. Roanoke College Athletics - Athletic Department
  21. Olds’ seventh place is best Olympic women’s road race finish by American in 20 years - Roanoke College - Salem, Virginia
  22. Roanoke College Athletics - Men's Soccer
  23. Roanoke College Athletics - Men's Soccer
  24. Roanoke College Athletics - Women's Indoor Track
  25. Roanoke College Athletics
  26. Roanoke College Athletics - Men's Lacrosse
  27. Roanoke College Athletics - Athletic Department
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