Salem, Virginia, will host its 100th and 101st NCAA Championships this weekend at Roanoke College. The Division III Women’s Soccer Championship will take place on December 1 and the Men’s Championship will follow on December 2.
In December 1993, the city hosted the first of 25 straight Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowls, the Division III college football national championship game.
“This is beyond anything we could ever have imagined,” said Carey Harveycutter, Salem Tourism director. “We knew we could give the Stagg Bowl a first-class experience, but we also knew that wrestling it away from its sunny home in Bradenton, Florida, would take some doing.”
The 71-year-old Harveycutter has been the game manager or tournament director for each of the 99 NCAA National Championship events the city has hosted since 1993 in Division II and Division III. He will assume the same role again this weekend.
Salem’s partner through 80 championships has been the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. That relationship will continue this weekend at Roanoke College’s Kerr Stadium.
“The ODAC has been a proud partner in this process since the start,” said Brad Bankston, ODAC commissioner. “Our former commissioner Dan Wooldridge was instrumental in attracting the Stagg Bowl here in 1993 and getting the ball rolling. Our partnership has positively influenced the Division III championship landscape and the ODAC’s national profile.”
Salem and the Continental Volleyball Conference hosted men’s Division III volleyball in 2021 during the pandemic at a socially distanced Salem Civic Center in front of select fans. The city also has hosted 18 Division II championships in the 30-year stretch with partnership assistance from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, now known as the Mountain East Conference.
Once the soccer champions are crowned this weekend, Salem will turn its focus to football at Salem Stadium as, the Stagg Bowl will return to Salem in 2023 after a five-year hiatus. The 100th edition of the game is scheduled for December 15.
“Bringing the Stagg Bowl back to Salem for the game’s golden anniversary is tremendous for all of Virginia’s Blue Ridge region,” Harveycutter said. “We had unbelievable community involvement in this game for three decades, and I believe this is our way of saying thank you to the people and the businesses who made that incredible streak possible. We cannot wait.”