Robert Edward Rotanz ’78

Robert “Bob” Edward Rotanz grew up in both New York City and Long Island. He was the middle of three boys. Bob played for Ward Melville High School, well-known for its Lacrosse program. His discovery of the small school in Virginia came after repeated competitors chose to attend and play for Roanoke College.

A high school All-American quickly made his mark on the fields at Roanoke. Bob was named the Defenseman of the Year, USILA All American; USILA National Defenseman (the 1st to be given that title), and USILA National Player of the year. During his senior year, as team captain, he may be best remembered for scoring the winning goal in the final minutes of the 1978 LAX National Championship.

Shortly after graduation, Bob recognized his strong desire to open a business with fellow teammate Jim McEnerney ’78. They opened Mac & Bob’s across from the College. From a teeny 10-stool pub to a sprawling 330-seat restaurant with an 80-tap bar and enchanting patio, Mac & Bob’s is without a doubt steeped in Salem history and culture. Since 1980, the town of Salem and the students of Roanoke College have made Mac & Bob’s their second home. Now co-owned with another teammate, Joe Dishaw ’78, the restaurant and bar serve as the backdrop for high school and college reunions, victory celebrations, sporting events, family gatherings, and casual get-togethers. Together they
have used the profits to invest back into the community. And through the restaurant, they have mentored and supported numerous individuals to go on to culinary programs or start their own businesses.

No investment has been too small—school fundraisers, team uniforms, and more. Bob has worked with Junior Achievement for Dropout Prevention and for thirty years he has organized the annual Mac & Bob’s Golf Tournament for Downs’ Syndrome, raising over $300,000 for the cause. He was given an honorary lifetime membership in the Virginia PTA and received the Charles Brown Award given annually to a remarkable Salem citizen

His love of lacrosse led him to help start youth lacrosse in the Roanoke Valley, which has led to countless young boys and girls learning to play and compete at a growing level. Bob has received additional accolades by being the 3rd Maroon to be inducted into the Long Island Metro Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Upon his induction into the Virginia Hall of Fame; Bob dedicated his award to his older brother Richard Aloysius Rotanz Jr., a fireman at the Twin Towers.

Married to the love of his life, Wendy Everbach Rotanz ’81, Bob has weathered the storm of numerous challenges, always ending in triumph and a whole community surrounding him. Even in the face of adversity, Bob finds that the investments made in this community provide a return far greater than ever imagined. Such heartfelt in its reality, one story was featured in both Amtrak Magazine and the Today Show.

From hiring student employees, speaking to inspire other Maroons, serving on the President’s Advisory Board, and giving back generously as a member of the Associates Soci- ety, Presidents Society, and Maroon Club, Bob never forgets his alma mater.