As hundreds of alumni return to Liberty University for the 40th Anniversary Homecoming celebration this weekend, they will relive many traditions including the much-anticipated Homecoming football game. Football has a way of creating community on any college campus, but alumnus Tim Yonts (’09) created one tradition that is unique to Liberty: Roccotown.
Named after head coach Danny Rocco, “residents” of Roccotown spend the night before home games camping out in tents outside Williams Stadium’s gates, bringing televisions, radios, video games, music, games and lots of food. Rain and cold weather doesn’t stop these fans from showing up.
|Tim Yonts (middle with face painted) cheers after his friends won a 12th man competition in 2009.|
Yonts and his friends started Roccotown in 2009 when they were trying to win the “12th man” competition – another unique Liberty tradition – for the much-anticipated Liberty vs. JMU home football game. Liberty awards a “12th man” flag at the end of a game to the residence hall that shows exceptional school spirit. They are then honored at the start of the next game.
“We really wanted to win the 12th man so we were brainstorming ways to be the first in the stadium,” Yonts said. “One of my buddies said, ‘I’ll even camp outside the gates to get in first!’ And that’s how Roccotown started.”
All Roccotown “residents” are given a special pass that allows them into the stadium 15 minutes early on game day, assuring they get the best seats.
“It’s cool to think I helped start a tradition that continues after I’ve left Liberty. Roccotown is now partnered with Liberty Athletics and is growing into something bigger than when I first started it,” Yonts said. “I’m glad I was able to leave my mark here for the student body.”