Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea to be honored during the CIAA championship

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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea is being honored during the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship game on Saturday in Salem.

Mayor Lea is a former Virginia Union University football player who will be recognized as a Legend of the CIAA.

He was an offensive lineman for VUU under former Union coach Willard Bailey. In 1973, Lea helped the Panthers to their first CIAA Championship in 50 years.

The CIAA has selected 11 former conference football players to be recognized as Legends of CIAA Football prior to kickoff at the 2017 Football Championship game at Salem Stadium on Saturday, November 11. Kickoff of the championship game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

The CIAA will celebrate the accomplishments of each player in support of its historic 125th anniversary of Black college football, which marks the recording of the first-ever game between two of its institutions–Johnson C. Smith University, then named Biddle University, and Livingstone College.

"The CIAA is rich in tradition and strong in leadership," said Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams. "In honoring the Legends of CIAA Football, we celebrate and thank them for the impact they have had on our conference. Part of our foundation and success is attributed to these phenomenal former players and their contributions."

The following former student-athletes from each of the conference's member institutions have been selected as Legends of CIAA Football:

• Isaac Redman, Bowie State University
• Robert Holland, Chowan University
• Johnnie Walton, Elizabeth City State University
• Bryan Holliday, Fayetteville State University
• Bruce Duke, Johnson C. Smith University
• Ben Coates, Livingstone College
• Robert Headen, Saint Augustine's University
• Darnell Evans, Shaw University
• George Leonard, Virginia State University
• Sherman Lea, Virginia Union University
• Anthony Blaylock, Winston-Salem State University