Welcome to the neighborhood, Smart family

If you’re a Richmonder like myself, there’s a good chance you read Style Weekly. Love it, hate it, disagree with it, whatever…if you live in RVA, you’ve no doubt picked one up to read because you were either 1) really interested by the cover story or 2) just needed something to look at while you killed time somewhere. Coincidentally both applied to me this morning.

In this week’s issue, Melissa Scott Sinclair wrote a few paragraph’s about our coach’s house hunt. While I’m not sure I need to know where the Smart’s live, I will admit, I’m pretty stoked about my new Fan neighbors.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Smart’s and they are as down to Earth as you’ll find. But even with that said, when I shouldn’t be starstruck after all these years of seeing/talking to them — often just feet from me in the post-game press conferences — seeing Shaka walk a stroller down the street is still kinda rad.

To the best of my knowledge, we haven’t had a coach live in a VCU surrounding neighborhood: the Fan/Museum District, Oregon Hill, Jackson Ward, Carver, Church Hill, etc. That’s always puzzled me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against the ‘burbs (Chester, VA stand up!), but I’ve always thought, “if you’re going to do the VCU thing, DO the VCU thing”. Whether you coach, teach, or go to school here, in my opinion, you just can’t beat living downtown. There’s nothing better than walking or biking to campus, enjoying all the neighborhood restaurants and bars, and just immersing yourself in Richmond, VA.

I’ve done so for the past decade and can’t imagine a scenario where I ever leave. Had the likes of Jeff Capel or Anthony Grant done so, I think they just might have found it harder to leave as well.

So that’s why today, knowing the Smart’s are TRULY embracing VCU and the CITY of Richmond, I like them even more, and will probably rest a little easier next offseason when the BCS schools come calling. They are Richmonders.

And Shaka, Maya, if you’re reading this…we’ve got plenty of eggs and sugar on Mulberry St. if you ever need a favor from a neighbor.

A two-time graduate of VCU (School of the Arts '07, Center for Sport Leadership '10), Mat is a co-founder of VCU Ram Nation and a longtime fan as the ...