March 24, 2010
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Buky Bamigboye is not your typical transfer. Transfers come in at all different levels of talent, but they don’t usually arrive with the resume of Bamigboye.
It’s a resume that includes multiple school records, Big East Championships and NCAA Championship and Olympic Trial experience. It’s a resume that is now at Vanderbilt.
After spending the past four years as a member of Georgetown’s track team, Bamigboye graduated with a degree in sociology last May. Although her time as an undergrad was finished, Bamigboye still had one outdoor track season of eligibility remaining after redshirting during her junior season to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the heptathlon, where she placed 13th.
“I qualified for the Olympic trials my sophomore year at Georgetown, and that same year I also tore ligaments in my hamstring,” Bamigboye said. “Between the two, if I wanted to be in any type of shape for Olympic trials, I needed to rehab pretty well. That’s where my eligibility came from. I still competed in the Olympic trials (in 2008), but I didn’t compete as a part of the team in any meets, instead I competed unattached.”
With one season of eligibility remaining, Bamigboye turned her attention to finding the right place to go to graduate school and spend her last season as a college student-athlete. A native of Brentwood, Tenn., it didn’t take Bamigboye long to realize that Vanderbilt would be the right place for her.
“I knew I wanted to come home and there are a number of schools in this area, but the school that appealed to me most was Vanderbilt,” said Bamigboye, who is getting her master’s at the Peabody College. “I’m really into education, and Peabody is the No. 1 education program in the country. Third, Coach (D’Andre) Hill and Coach (Clark) Humphreys are great coaches to work with.”
Just as Bamigboye was interested in Vanderbilt, the coaching staff was interested in her. As the program continues to develop, someone with the resume of Bamigboye could provide just what the team needs to take that next step forward.
“When we were discussing everything in the summer, I said the biggest thing that she could do for us was be an example of what to strive for,” said Assistant Coach Clark Humphreys, who coaches Bamigboye in multi-events and jumps. “Her work ethic and experience level is an invaluable thing that the kids can grow from.”
Although she didn’t join the Commodores as an undergrad, Vanderbilt has long been a natural fit to Bamigboye, who graduated high school from University School of Nashville, which is across the street from Vanderbilt’s campus. Bamigboye’s mother works in the psychiatric nursing department at Vanderbilt, her brother graduated from the school and Vanderbilt was one of the five schools Bamigboye made official visits to after high school.
However when it came time for Bamigboye to choose where she would go to college to pursue her undergraduate degree, Georgetown was the place for her. While at Georgetown, Bamigboye won the Big East Championship in the heptathlon and the 400-meter hurdles.
Now at Vanderbilt, Bamigboye hopes she can have similar success in the SEC—even if she has just one season. Bamigboye has spent the indoor season training with the Commodores and competing unattached at meets. Her first opportunity to compete for the Commodores will come at home March 26-27 at the Vanderbilt Black and Gold.
Although she has just one season to compete, Bamigboye’s experience at Vanderbilt and with the team thus far has her thinking she may want to stick around Nashville to continue her training for the 2012 Summer Olympics after she graduates in August.
“It is so bittersweet to have just one season here,” Bamigboye said. “Depending on how things go with the job market, I might stick around and teach locally and work out with Coach Hill and Coach Humphreys.”
Even if she does have just one season here, Bamigboye hopes that she not only improves individually, but also helps with the progression of a developing track program.
“We talk about what it takes to get to that next level all the time,” Bamigboye said. “In some of the girls, I see myself. That mental hump that you have when you are young is really tough, but as far as talent is concerned, this team is just full of it. I think we have to get stronger mentally, and that is something the coaches are working on.”
Being mentally strong is something Bamigboye specializes in. Her weekly schedule includes training, going to class, student teaching five days a week at Hillsboro High School and working as a hostess at a restaurant on the weekends.
“It is just the idea that I like to stay busy,” Bamigboye said. “I’m one of those people that if I’m just sitting there not doing anything, I feel uncomfortable.”
One place she definitely hasn’t felt uncomfortable is Vanderbilt.
“What I like about Vanderbilt is that I’ve built up those relationships again with my teammates just like I had at Georgetown,” Bamigboye said. “At first I was so scared to come here, but everyone is so wonderful. It is awesome and I love it here.”