pic: VA Regional: Shaka Smart and 1086



VCU men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart emerged from the Siegel Center elevator just as I was getting on. He’d been by already and some kids from 1086 were waiting for him. Coach Smart was a good sport and came back to sign autographs and pose for photos!

Now this is how to bridge the perceived gap between Robotics and Athletics. Rather than get a “dumb jock” to come to a FIRST event, you got a Smart man!

Shaka Smart is a very impressive coach. Here is a unique way that he gets the VCU team ready for a game.

Andy B.

this is awesome. i remember like 6 years ago at VCU brushing shoulders with members of the basketball team there. but that is nothing compared to meeting shaka smart. that must have been an awesome experience.

he shows how a team that is over matched both physically and talent-wise can still win with great strategy.

I have better pictures of this little meeting, but Coach Smart was very nice. He initially said he was in a hurry, but he also said “give me 5 minutes and I’ll be RIGHT back”. Seems he had a lot of fun with the kids and volunteers in that few minutes, and he was a great sport. Some of the other teams met D.J. Haley and Jamie Skeen from the VCU men’s basketball team and got autographs.

I really think of Shaka Smart’s coaching ethic as being quite similar to FIRST in a way in that he always finds ways to turn negatives into positives and never gets frustrated. He really bonds with the players and gives them a great deal of encouragement, sort of like a mentor.