Since early March it’s a good bet that every time James DuBose’s cell phone rings he tries to answer it.

DuBose realizes the person on the other end might be calling to help out with WSSU’s latest fundraiser for athletics. Since March 1 the athletics department started an ambitious campaign to raise $250,000.

Thanks to folks like Chris Paul, Stephen A. Smith, William Hayes and Randolph Childress, nearly $95,000 has been raised in five weeks.

“We really do have a lot of momentum with this and we’re very pleased with how it’s going,” said DuBose, who is an associate athletics director in charge of external affairs. “This campaign for athletics runs until June and we’re confident we’ll get to that $250,000 mark or even beyond it.”

Paul, a former Wake Forest star who plays for the Houston Rockets, has pledged $50,000 through his active Chris Paul Family Foundation. Both of Paul’s parents, Robin and Charles, attended WSSU and a few years ago it was Paul who brought all of his NBA friends to the Gaines Center for a game that raised money for WSSU during the NBA strike.

“Somebody posted on social media about our campaign and Chris saw it and he called one of our alums,” DuBose said about Paul’s interest. “Then at the CIAA Tournament (in Charlotte) we got some time with Chris and his parents and he was very interested in helping us.”

Paul hasn’t been shy about helping his community where he was raised. He bought a small stake in the Winston-Salem Dash and he also donated $2.5 million back to the Wake Forest basketball program in August of last year.

DuBose said several local businesses have also contributed to the fundraising efforts.

The money will go toward non-revenue sports scholarships for volleyball, tennis and softball as well as uniforms for the revenue sports. DuBose says it will help the entire athletics program in other areas as well.

“We expect the fundraiser to continue to pick up speed especially since next weekend we’ll have our national alumni association meeting here in Winston,” DuBose said.

That same weekend the Rams will play their final scrimmage for spring football practice at 1 p.m. at Carver High School on April 13.

Also stepping up to help the cause is Smith, a well-known ESPN personality who is a 1991 graduate of WSSU. Smith has donated $25,000 and, according to reports, is expected to sign a long-term deal with ESPN that could pay him $10 million a year.

“Stephen’s been great to us over the years with giving back to this university and he was one of the first ones to donate when we began this campaign,” DuBose said.

Hayes, an 11-year NFL veteran, has donated more than $2,000 and Childress and his wife, Tabetha, also have donated. Childress, a former star at Wake Forest, is an assistant coach for the Deacons where his son, Brandon, is the starting point guard.

Several other former WSSU football players have pledged donations including Cory Williams, Alton Keaton and James Dawkins.

Childress said he and his wife had no problem donating for the cause to help out WSSU.

“Winston-Salem State is part of the community here and this is home for us,” Childress said. “Even though I’m a Wake Forest graduate and I’m employed there my wife and I try to be active in the community and WSSU is a big part of that.”

Childress said he knows in the world of intercollegiate athletics programs need to have funds to be competitive.

“It doesn’t matter what level at Division I or Division II having scholarship money to attract those athletes is vital,” said Childress, who helped Wake Forest to an ACC title in his senior season in the 1994-95 season.

As the fund-raising effort continues Dubose will be keeping a close eye on his cell phone. “You never know who might be calling next,” DuBose said.

For more information on the fundraising campaign go to https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/horns

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jdell@wsjournal.com

(336) 727-4081

@johndellWSJ

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