VandyMania Interview: Venessa Ferragamo

She hasn't logged a great deal of minutes, but Venessa Ferragamo has been an essential cog in the Vandy women's hoops program, and a fan favorite as one of the seniors of 2004. Whitney D. caught up with the 5-10 senior guard/forward, who whose four-year career is rapidly drawing to a close. The Commodores visit No. 15 LSU Thursday evening.

VandyMania: Venessa, if you look across your senior class, you have four different stories there. I want you to talk about your story.

Venessa: I started as a freshman with Coach Foster. I had asked him before coming to Vanderbilt if he was open to the idea of walk-ons, and he said "Yes," and gave me a summer program. So I tried to do the summer program, tried out, and made the team as a walk-on.

And I guess for me it's different from Jenni or Hillary, who get more playing time. I try to be a role player. I try to do what I can. I take every practice like a game because practice is my gametime, most of the time, and so I just try to do my best there. As a senior, I've really tried to pick it up as a leader on the floor and work really hard and role play.

VandyMania: For many people, the lack of playing time over the years would be a discouragement, but it hasn't been for you.

Venessa: No. It's not, I think because I'm such good friends with all my teammates. I just feel so much support for them. I'm encouraged by them. I'm inspired by them, and I think that just getting the chance to practice with these players is more than I could ever ask for. So I'm happy with that. Everybody would love to get out there and play, but, shoot, I'll take those 30 seconds or whatever is. I love it.

VandyMania: Your father is Vince Ferragamo, the former NFL quarterback. Can you tell me what it was like growing up with a famous dad?

Venessa: When he was still playing, I was real little. When he retired, I was only four. I only remember seeing him on TV a couple of times. It's kind of cool for me sometimes, because we'll like go out and you see people looking around and you can tell they're like, "Is that Vince Ferragamo?" My dad's real friendly. He goes out of his way to talk to people and meet people, so it's been kind of fun. He'll sign autographs-- it's really fun. You meet a lot of people that way. So it's fun.

VandyMania: Can you talk a little about what life's like during the season for a basketball player?

Venessa: Well, it's a very busy schedule, very time-consuming. If you wanted to go through a t ypical day in the life of a women's basketball player, it would be get up, get something to eat, maybe go lift or go to class, maybe have an individual, get some lunch, get over to the gym to get taped and ready for practice, then you go to practice, go eat again, maybe have study tables, or maybe go study, and then maybe just chill for a little bit right before you pass out and go to bed, and then start over again.

VandyMania: How about road trips? What are they like?

Venessa: Road trips are so much fun. You go, you travel. You get to spend quality time with your teammates. I mean, we're together all the time in practice, but on road trips we're like together off the court, and rooming with one person, you learn a lot about that person. You have great food, we get nice hotel rooms, and just get quality time together with your team. It's really a lot of fun.

VandyMania Finally, can you talk about your major and your career plans?

Venessa: I'm a history major, but I've completed all the pre-medical requirements.. I've applied to medical school but I won't have any word back until late March or April. I did okay on the M-CAT, not outstanding, but okay.

VandyMania: So if all goes according to plan, medical school is in your future?

Venessa: Yes, if all goes according to plan, that's how it would be.

VandyMania: Have you thought about what kind of medicine?

Venessa: If I had to choose right now, I'd probably think about pediatrics. I love kids and working with kids, and that would be really good, especially as a woman. I eventually want to start a family, so in private practice that could be really accommodating. Other than that, maybe dermatology or orthopedics. I'm not sure, but pediatrics would probably be my first choice.

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Photo of Venessa Ferragamo against Samford by Micah Miller for; photos of Jutta Korkko and Venessa at the 2003 banquet, of Venessa and teammates after the Vandy men's team beat Florida, and of Venessa with senior classmates Jutta Korkko, Jenni Benningfifeld and Hillary Hager by Whitney D. for Top Stories