Athletics: VCU point guard Briante Weber featured in New York Times

Briante (left). Photo by Zach Gibson.

Briante (left). Photo by Zach Gibson.

An excerpt from the New York Times’ March 13 article:

For most of Virginia Commonwealth University’s 70-67 victory over Richmond on Friday afternoon in the Atlantic 10 conference quarterfinals in Brooklyn, Briante Weber sat in a chair next to the V.C.U. bench and leaned against the scorers’ table.

At times, Weber stood and cheered his teammates, but he made sure to exhibit caution. After all, he was wearing a brace on his right knee and had crutches by his side. He did not want to aggravate an injury that ended his college career but did not dampen his enthusiasm for the university or the basketball program.

Still, Weber almost seemed ready to compete. He wore his game shorts, sneakers and a V.C.U. warm-up jacket. He also clutched a gold Rams towel. During some timeouts, using his crutches he walked over to the team’s huddle.

After the game, Weber hung around the Barclays Center concourse speaking with his mother and other family members and posing for photographs with fans.

“I’m definitely happy with the outcome,” Weber said. “I can’t help the team out, but I try to help with my voice. That’s all I can do right now is be another coach out there.”

Read the full article at

NCAA Tournament information

A10 champs

The VCU men’s basketball team faces the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 19. Join VCU Alumni in Portland as we cheer for the Rams during March Madness!

registernow150Pregame social
When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (PDT) Thursday, March 19
Where: Bar XV*, 15 SW Second Ave., Portland, OR 97204
Cost: Complimentary. Food and drinks available for purchase.

*Bar XV is accessible by public transportation via the Skidmore Fountain Max stop and is an eight-minute ride to the Moda Center (Rose Quarter stop).

If the VCU Rams advance to the third round, VCU Alumni will gather for another pregame social at Bar XV, beginning 2 ½ hours before tipoff Saturday, March 21.

VCU Rams vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
When: 1:40 p.m. (PDT)/4:40 p.m. (EDT) Thursday, March 19
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

NCAA tickets 
Limited availability for alumni and the general public through VCU Athletics.

Check VCU Alumni’s regional event page to see where Rams fans will gather at watch parties in Richmond and throughout the U.S. If you do not see an event planned in your city and would like to organize a watch party, tell us and we’ll spread the word.

Check VCU Athletics for up-to-date information on the NCAA Tournament.

Let the Madness begin


The Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Basketball Championship began March 11 in Brooklyn, New York.

Our VCU Rams enjoyed another successful basketball season, and we hope that you will join us for more March Madness!

The Rams pulled out a third round win against the University of Richmond Spiders and will face top-seeded Davidson next.

When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14

Throughout the A-10 and NCAA Tournaments, pregame socials and watch parties are being planned for alumni and fans to cheer on the Rams. Visit our regional events page to keep abreast of events planned in your city.

If you do not see watch parties in your area, we invite you to plan your own watch party. We will help spread the word and list it on our calendar.

If you are planning to attend the A-10 Tournament or live in the New York City area, Die Koelner Bierhalle (The KBH) is the official VCU headquarters for fans to gather throughout the weekend. Located just three blocks from the Barclays Center, meet up with your fellow Ram fans at KBH for food and spirits.

Visit the VCU Athletics and A-10 Web pages for the latest tournament and television schedules.


H&S: Burgess says VCU retiring his jersey is ‘very humbling’

Photo by Dean Hoffmeyer: VCU's Bradford Burgess keeps the ball away from UNI's Marc Sonnen in the second half

Photo by Dean Hoffmeyer: VCU’s Bradford Burgess keeps the ball away from UNI’s Marc Sonnen in the second half.

Bradford Burgess (B.S.’12/H&S) started every game in his VCU career, an NCAA record 146.

Bradford Burgess played in and watched enough games at the Siegel Center growing up that he noticed the jerseys hanging in the rafters.

Adding one wasn’t a thought when he suited up as a freshman for VCU. The Benedictine graduate was more worried about getting off the bench.

“That was the only thing that crossed my mind at the time,” he said. “I never expected anything to happen like it did. I just wanted to have a solid career.”

It turned into much more than that, of course.

Burgess became one of the pillars of an era that has propelled VCU to prominence. His penchant for making big shots, an iron man streak and an all-around game gave him places in the NCAA and school record books.

Read more at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Athletics: A (game) day in the life of the Siegel Center

Down on the court at the heart of the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, Shaka Smart and his staff and players are hard at work. Instead of the pulsing, chaotic crowds that accompany their games here, though, the Rams are surrounded by thousands of silent, empty seats. There are no fans to feed on, no opponent to confront. It’s a moment of temporary – and only partial – isolation, their calm before the storm.

They run drills, practice set pieces and prepare for the particular tactics and tendencies of La Salle, that night’s opponent. The team is purposeful and businesslike in their efforts with no wasted moments, no lulls without clear intention.

Meanwhile, swirling in the team’s orbit, from alongside the court to the deepest recesses of the arena, a small army of men and women move with swift but unhurried efficiency to complete their own preparations for that night’s game.

Someone tests the technology at the scorer’s table. A man pushes a cart stacked with shelves of food around the concourse. Near him, the rattle and clang of a kitchen at full throttle is faint through an open door. CBS Sports Network members fiddle with the cables – there are miles of them – that are coiled like thick black snakes behind one of the basketball hoops. Other members of the CBS crew perched above the scene shift their camera from side to side, readying for the real action.

The players on the court seem unaware of the action that surrounds them, just as everyone else seems unconcerned with the particular paces of the players. They all have their own jobs to do.

The product on the court and the dedicated fans in the stands are justifiably the focus on gamedays – VCU has won 26 or more games in five straight seasons and has sold out 64 straight home games – but the work done to provide the Rams and their devoted fans with the venue they deserve requires hard work and precise organization, much of it performed outside of public view.

Read more.

It’s time to ride again!

DSC_1043Join us for the 2015 VCU Alumni and VCU Division of Student Affairs Community Bike Ride.

The 29-mile route begins at the Student Commons, travels through Varina on Osborne Turnpike (Route 5) and returns to campus. The ride will consist of a rest stop at Osborne Boat Landing (snacks provided), SAG vehicle and cue sheets.

When: Saturday, May 2; 8-9 a.m. meet and greet, ride begins shortly afterward
Where: University Student Commons, 907 Floyd Ave., Richmond, VA

If you have questions about the event, contact Larry Powell (B.S.’85/H&S), assistant director, outreach and engagement, at (804) 828-8194.

Check VCU Alumni’s Facebook page or the VCU Alumni calendar for updates.

Arts: Music professor channels her inner athlete

John Dewey, 20th-century philosopher and educational reformer, once said, “If we teach today’s students as we did yesterday’s, we are robbing them of tomorrow.”

At Virginia Commonwealth University, professors and teachers in the strings department, who were known as faculty in yesteryear, today refer to themselves as coaches. They have pioneered a new method of teaching students to teach themselves. By incorporating the time-honored athletic ritual of “watching film,” students analyze video recordings of themselves performing as part of a more effective, real-world, student-centered learning model.

“The idea of using a sports methodology for our classes came to me while I was following the VCU basketball team’s success and reading about Shaka Smart’s coaching,” said Susanna Klein, assistant professor of violin. “It took me back to my high school swim team time, when we used video regularly to work on our strokes.”

That’s one thing that most highly successful athletes have in common: They watch themselves over and over again — and then just once more — to figure out why they aren’t performing the way they want.

But musicians, for as long as anyone can remember, have been taught one way, with the teacher always at the center of learning. Traditionally, the student plays, the teacher listens, the teacher comments. Rinse and repeat.

Read more.

Medicine: Redskins player recovers with help from VCU

Tim Hightower

Tim Hightower

Former Washington Redskins’ standout Tim Hightower often starts his day at 7 a.m. on a stationary bike at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Sports Medicine Clinic. There, as part of his recovery from surgery to repair an injured anterior cruciate ligament, Hightower spends several mornings a week with VCU physical therapists Rebecca Moran, D.P.T., and Ashley Harwood, D.P.T.

After Hightower warms up on the bike, Moran challenges him with a series of strength, balance and range-of-motion exercises for an hour-and-a-half, followed by a half-hour of intense stretching. This is typical of the comprehensive rehabilitation plan he has followed with Moran and Harwood since May 2014.

Hightower, a running back, suffered his ACL tear with the Redskins in a 2011 game against the Carolina Panthers. He was in his fourth season in the NFL and had rushed for 736 yards the season before with the Arizona Cardinals. At the time of his injury, he had rushed for 321 yards in just five games for the Redskins, putting him on an early pace to top 1,000 yards.

Hightower had reparative surgery in November of that year and returned to play for the Redskins in the fall of 2012. Upon his return, however, he discovered he was not at full strength and subsequently experienced a series of physical setbacks. His ailing knee required a second surgery, and Mark Willis, M.D., associate professor and director of orthopedic trauma at VCU Medical Center, handled the procedure.

Following surgery, Hightower met with Thomas Loughran, M.D., medical director at VCU Sports Medicine Clinic, who referred him to the VCU physical therapy team. Since then, Hightower has been committed to his physical therapy sessions with Moran to rehabilitate his knee and get his body back into the excellent shape necessary to return to the NFL and the game he loves.

Read more.

Athletics: Alumnus Scott Sizemore signs with Miami Marlins

VCU alumnus Scott Sizemore

VCU alumnus Scott Sizemore

The 2014 edition of baseball’s winter meetings are now over and, after an incredibly active week of transactions, an almost unprecedented number of players find themselves with new teams.

Among those who will be wearing a new jersey this upcoming season is former Ram Scott Sizemore, who has signed a deal with the Miami Marlins according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. No contract details have been confirmed as of yet.

This will be Sizemore’s fourth organization since making his major league debut in 2010 with the Detroit Tigers. He has also suited up for the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees, though his stay in the Bronx was cut short by injuries. Since 2011, he has appeared in just eight games at the major league level due to injuries.

Read more.