50. Shaka Smart 

VCU Head Basketball Coach

click to enlarge SCOTT ELMQUIST
Give us this one. Yes, he’s just a basketball coach. But consider just how much Shaka Smart, who took the Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball team to its first Final Four this spring, did for Richmond. The entire country fell in love with him and VCU in a span of about three weeks, giving the university — and the city — unquantifiable national exposure. And when it was all over, he didn’t leave like so many predicted, signing an eight-year deal to stay at the university ($1.2 million a year). Moreover, for a city so desperately seeking an identity, Smart made Richmond a contender.

2010 Ranking: N/A

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