Rally for Ram & Spiders

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The road to the NCAA tournament started with two teams, the VCU Rams and the Richmond Spiders, and ended with one city united!

"These teams put Richmond on the map like never before," said Mayor Dwight Jones.

In a "Hoopstown Celebration" with a crowd of a couple hundred Major Dwight Jones presented both coaches: Chris Mooney and Shaka Smart with the first-ever Pride of Richmond award.

"We want to say thank you for an amazing run, for a dream season you took us to the very top," Jones said.

Lauren Sachs and her nephew were some of the first to arrive for the history-making celebration.

"I think to show the Rams we still support them; whether they made it further or not, we're here for them and we're proud of them," she said.

Although drowned in a sea of black and gold...these die-hard Spiders fans are beaming.

"To have two schools in the same town, that's pretty amazing and I think a lot of people really got caught up in it," said Christy Ford.

Both coaches thankful of their team, the city and the fans...

"Then I want to say thank you to all of our fans.  Everyone that came to Dayton, Chicago, San Antonio Houston," said VCU Head Basketball coach Shaka Smart.

And a hometown hero VCU starter Brandon Rozzell is trying to let it all sink-in less than two weeks after the Final Four match against Butler.

"We never expected it to be like this. Richmond has definitely shown us a lot of love and we appreciate every person," Rozzell said.

VCU players and head coach Shaka Smart stood out here for more than an hour signing autographs and taking photos with the fans that supported them during season that ended less than two weeks ago.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.