Pepsi becomes official drink of the Roadrunners

Published 8:48 pm Monday, July 18, 2022

DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College announced Monday that Pepsi Beverages Company, through its local distributor in Benton Harbor, has agreed to become an official sponsor of SMC athletics.

“We’re very excited to have Pepsi on board with our athletics revival,” said Dr. Joe Odenwald, SMC President. “We negotiated with several major beverage companies and Pepsi was the most engaged and the most interested in helping to get this partnership done to benefit our student-athletes and fans.”

The five-year deal will provide SMC with marketing and merchandising allowances from brands like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Aquafina, Gatorade, Mountain Dew, Starbucks Ready-to-Drink, Tropicana, Lipton, Pure Leaf, Muscle Milk, Rockstar and Bang Energy Drink. The college will use the proceeds from the agreement to help fund athletics operations and to provide an even more robust game day experience with giveaways, new product sampling events and other surprises.

Pepsi was also a first-year sponsor for the 48th Steve’s Run, which benefits student scholarships and cancer research; the annual race took place in downtown Dowagiac on Friday evening, July 15.

Other SMC Athletics marketing partners include 1st Source Bank, Adidas, Midwest Energy and Communications and Wolverine Mutual Insurance Company.

Following the return of nationally-ranked cross country teams to competition last fall, the SMC Board of Trustees authorized the return of NJCAA men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and men’s wrestling for Fall 2022. SMC is also starting a women’s competitive dance team, a collegiate bass-fishing team and a pep band to deepen student engagement.

The College is nearing completion of the Charles O. Zollar Building renovation project, with the centerpiece being the reimagined 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse venue.

The project includes replacement of the original gymnasium floor with a new high-grade basketball and volleyball surface and replacement of the original bleachers with a new system that will meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and provide better comfort and accessibility for fans of all ages. It also includes installation of energy-efficient LED overhead lights, installation of a new video scoreboard and audio system, construction of new state-of-the-art locker rooms for the Roadrunners, reconfiguration of the existing locker rooms for visiting teams, the addition of an officials’ room, a brand-new Sports Medicine Center and construction of a second-floor suite of coaches’ offices and gathering area – with a glass wall overlooking the court — suitable for receptions, recruiting events and premium viewing experiences. The facilities are on schedule to be ready for use by student-athletes later this month.

The Roadrunners’ home volleyball opener is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27. Full schedules and ticketing information for all sports will be available on smcroadrunners.com soon.