In 2011, the VCU Rams athletics program emerged under the national spotlight's brightest bulbs when the men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Final Four as an 11-seed. But while their Cinderella story may have made VCU a household name and bedtime story for sports-loving children, it is hardly the only instance of Rams' athletic success. A perennial powerhouse on the tennis court, the men's program has raked in 16 conference championships and eight All-America selections while spending 17 straight years in the ITA top-25. Members of the Atlantic 10 Conference since 2012, the Rams don their black-and-gold uniforms to proudly represent their university at a number of fan-friendly facilities.
Teachers and doctors. Moms and sisters. The River City Rollergirls don't really care who you are, as long as you're ready to hit someone?and foster an environment that values diversity and gender equity in the process.
The skater- and volunteer-operated league sprouted in early 2006 as Richmond's first all-women's flat-track roller-derby association. At the start, the league featured just two teams?Poe's Punishers and the Uncivil Warriors?but has since expanded to include new members, including the Carytown Cadets, the Hollywood Undertakers, and the Jackson Wardens. All teams take falls and crack skulls as part of the Eastern region of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. But off the track, players put away their growling game faces when participating in community-outreach programs.
The Norfolk Admirals joined the AHL as an expansion team in the 2000–01 season. After qualifying for the playoffs nearly every season, the team’s historic 2011–12 campaign pushed them over the top and brought home their first Calder Cup. That year, the Admirals closed the season on a 28-game winning streak, the longest in the history of professional hockey since 1975, when brick walls were deemed ineligible to be goalies. Now an affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, the Admirals still take to the ice at Norfolk Scope Arena and face off before crowds of up to 12,600 devout fans.
Nadine Domond’s basketball career has taken her around the world, from her high school days as an All-American up through professional stints in France, Poland, Israel, and the WNBA. Today, as a Nike Skills trainer and motivational speaker, she passes on her round-ball wisdom to clients such as the University of North Carolina and Baylor University in an effort to help their players succeed both on and off the hardwood. Individual players at all positions can improve their footwork and ball-handling fundamentals through one-on-one and group training clinics, and entire squads can work on diagramming offensive plays and learning to set picks in grocery-store checkout lines during team camps.
In a large family with eight children, future comedian and Hollywood star Mike Epps relied on making others crumble to the floor with laughter to set him apart from his siblings, parlaying his experience as a class clown into standup gigs in Indiana when he was just a teen. Epps continued to build his ladder to superstardom in Atlanta before venturing to bigger ponds in New York at the age of 21, conquering the comedy-club circuit and attracting the attention of HBO's Def Comedy Jam series, which he would host in 2006. His lanky physicality and shape-shifting vocal talents have earned him roles in such blockbusters as The Hangover, All About the Benjamins, and The Fighting Temptations, and his wide-ranging standup sets––which frequently discuss race relations, celebrity peers, and American politics––have busted guts at major venues throughout the country.