Q&A with Carolyn Peck

Sept. 17, 2013

Peck Has Unforgettable Return to Campus

Former Commodore and current ESPN basketball analyst Carolyn Peck returned to campus September 6 for her induction into the Vanderbilt Athletic Hall of Fame.

A native of Jefferson City, Tenn., Peck lettered from 1985-88 and led Vanderbilt to its first of 26 NCAA Tournament appearances. During her return, she took a few minutes to discuss a wide range of topics heading into the season.

What was it like to come back and visit campus?
Carolyn Peck: This is really the first time as an alum that I've been able to come back as an alum and a fan of Vanderbilt athletics. It was such an honor when I got the call that I was going to be inducted into the hall of fame.

I've been back in Nashville for SEC Tournaments and I did a Vanderbilt men's game last year against MTSU, but I haven't been on campus. This is the first time as an alum that I feel like I am on the inside.

What's it like to see the continued success of the women's basketball program?
Peck: One of the reasons that we came to Vanderbilt was because they had never been to an NCAA Tournament, and we did after I got here. We went two years and then Jim Foster took the team to another level. And now Melanie has them in the NCAA Tournament every year. The commitment to athletics that the university has made is so amazing and I feel so much gratitude for that. You don't come to Vanderbilt just to play a sport. You get the best of both worlds.

How dramatic are the facility improvements since when you were in school?
Peck: It is overwhelming and it is really gratifying. I was just pointing out to my fiancé that McGugin Center was half the building that it is now. The weight room was moved onto the practice court we used to use in McGugin. I was really impressed by the practice court they have now.

How impressed have you been with the job Coach Balcomb has done with the program?
Peck: I call Melanie Dr. Balcomb because I feel like she is the doctor of offense in basketball. In interviewing her and watching games, she will have 50-plus offenses and she knows how to recruit the right players to fit.

Does Vanderbilt's offensive success make the Commodores a feared opponent?
Peck: Early on, you know they can have a slow start because come tournament time they are going to be right where they need to be. Vanderbilt is probably the last team that any team in the country wants to play because you have to prepare for so much when you go against them.

What are your thoughts on this year's Vanderbilt team?
Peck: Last season, Jasmine Lister and Christina Foggie were two of my favorite players. I was so sad when (Stephanie) Holzer got hurt because I thought having that big anchor inside would be huge. If the injury bug will stay away from the Commodores, Melanie Balcomb will be right in there and in contention for a championship, especially with the recruiting class that she has coming in.

What will your role be with ESPN this season?
Peck: I'm not doing studio this year; I will be doing games. From a coach's perspective, I am excited to be on the sidelines again. For the tournament, I will be doing the regionals, so I will be at site and get to commentate about the game.

How exciting of a time is it to be a fan of Vanderbilt?
Peck: I am always a defender of Vanderbilt football and I really feel like James Franklin is on the cusp of really getting where we all wanted Vanderbilt football to be. Other programs in the past have been successful, but you really feel that legitimate football feel at Vanderbilt. You can't just say, Vanderbilt is a school of just academics. It is academics and athletics. We live in Gainesville, Fla., and when Vanderbilt comes to town, I am rooting for the 'Dores.

(Photo Credit: Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)



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