It’s electric: VCU’s Siegel Center an ‘unbelievable environment’

Sports

As fans pile into the Siegel Center this basketball season, they notice Mike Rhoades on the sidelines. But before he took over as the Rams’ head coach, Rhoades was just like every other #RamNation supporter.

“I remember coming down here from Randolph-Macon (College),” VCU’s third-year coach recalled. “It was date night with my wife and I. We’d get something to eat and go to the VCU game.”

And from the start, he remembers the Siegel Center always being electric.

“It was just an unbelievable environment,” Rhoades said. “What a building to see a game in.”

“I think you feel the genuine passion the fans have inside the Siegel Center. You feel it the moment you walk in here. It’s just a warm welcome.”

Darius Theus

To this day that description holds true: 135 consecutive sellouts and counting makes it difficult for visiting teams — an atmosphere that speaks for itself.

“It’s something about VCU, I think you just feel the love,” former Rams player and current assistant coach Darius Theus said. “I think you feel the genuine passion the fans have inside the Siegel Center. You feel it the moment you walk in here. It’s just a warm welcome.”

Theus has also experienced the Siegel Center from the opposing sideline.

“I actually was sitting on the opposite side when I was coaching at Texas,” he explained. “The atmosphere being on the opposite team is even worse.”

That unique perspective brought a new appreciation for the STU. But the building means so much more …

“I proposed to my fiance here,” Theus said. “VCU changed my life, so I wanted to share that moment with Ram Nation, with all our fans, because those were the same fans when I was here when they met me at 18.”

Theus’ engagement — albeit a memorable one — is just one of many memories the Siegel Center has provided over the years.

“What stands out the most is how much the players, our fans and Ram Nation loves the Siegel Center. Let’s continue to make it another 20 years for sure.”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of VCU’s Siegel Center, 8News is recapping many of the moments and people that make the building one of the most intimate and intense venues in the country for college basketball.

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