Coaches

The Vanderbilt Ice Hockey Club is proud to announce the addition of three new coaches to the its staff for the 2011/12 season: Ben Gatlin, Jonathan Holston, and Rusty Ware. They will join Thomas Bernstein who will be entering his second season as the club’s head coach.

Thomas Bernstein

Head Coach

Education:
Cornell University (BS in Hotel Administration 2003)
Vanderbilt University (MBA 2010)
About:
Coach Bernstein grew up playing hockey in New Jersey both at the travel club and high school levels. Following high school, he played for Cornell University’s club team which he notes provided him with a unique understanding of how to manage, and not manage, a club organization. Says Bernstein, “What I lack in elite, NCAA-D1-level pedigree I hope to make up for with my understanding of what the club experience can and should be for our Vanderbilt hockey players.”

In terms of professional background, Coach Bernstein is a product developer and management consultant who currently works for Nashville-based start-up edō Interactive. Before edō, he worked for Accenture and American Express.

A New Jersey and New York City native, Coach Bernstein moved to Nashville following his wedding to wife Betsy in July 2008. They have two “pound puppies” named Annabelle and Cullie who Coach Bernstein describes as “our dog children … great practice leading up to the real thing.” When he isn’t playing or coaching hockey, Coach Bernstein enjoys playing golf, bike-riding, and writing.

Season Goals:
  • Help our Vanderbilt players exceed their goals for the season
  • Continue to drive a culture of continuous improvement
  • Have more fun than any other club in the country
Favorite Quote:
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
– Peter Drucker
Experience:
Coach Bernstein is entering his second season as head coach of the Vanderbilt ice hockey team.

Ben Gatlin

Assistant Coach

Education:
University of Missouri (BA in Communications, 2004)
Vanderbilt University (Master’s in Org. Leadership 2011)
About:
Coach Gatlin was born in Memphis, TN, and raised in Tupelo, MS. After graduating from the University of Missouri he briefly pursued an acting career in Hollywood before “taking a break” in Austin, TX, for a year. Reality settled in soon thereafter and, after evaluating his next steps professionally, he landed in Nashville, TN, to pursue a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Vanderbilt University.

While a graduate student at Vanderbilt, Gatlin played on the club ice hockey team and his desire to see Vandy hockey succeed now carries over into a coaching role. Gatlin now works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Vanderbilt recruiting and selecting the best students in the world. He notes that his priorities in life are “my Christian faith, family, friends, education, and traveling.”

Season Goals:
  • To see our players bond tightly as a unit and to play every game with great passion and intensity
  • Redeem the few losses we had last season
Favorite Quote:
“How does a tall lanky guy from Mississippi learn to play hockey?”
Experience:
Coach Gatlin is entering his first season as a coach (and second as a member) of the Vanderbilt ice hockey team.

Jonathan Holston

Assistant Coach

Education:
University of Alabama (BSBA in Finance 2010)
University of Alabama (Master’s in Marketing 2011)
About:
Jonathan was one of two children born in Saratoga Springs, New York to a southern father and immigrant mother. Bouncing around the country a bit at an early age, he took up the unlikely sport of ice hockey (his mother referred to it as “figure skating”) while living in Naperville, Illinois. The Holstons raised their two children through adolescence in Bear, Delaware, where Jonathan played high school and travel hockey.

After a short stint at Penn State for his freshman year, Holston headed to Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama to complete his degree closer to his family. He played 3 years for the Frozen Tide, serving as Treasurer and Alternate Captain while finishing his BS in Finance. He also served as operations manager during his graduate studies in Marketing. While at Alabama, Jonathan was involved in the initial meetings of the SECHC.

Professionally, Jonathan is an analyst in product development at edō Interactive, a Nashville-based marketing start-up. He spends his spare time cheering on the Philadelphia Flyers, cycling and surfing Wikipedia.

Season Goals:
  • To assist our players and coaches in realizing their goals for the season both on and off the ice
  • To help our players understand something a good friend and mentor Buddy Damaré taught me: When you pull on that sweater you don’t play to put ‘champion’ behind your name, you play to put ‘champion’ behind your teammate’s, and more importantly your university’s.
Favorite Quote:
“Win today and we walk together forever.”
– Fred Shero
Experience:
Holston is entering his first season with the Vanderbilt ice hockey team and fourth as a member of the ACHA (Alabama).

Rusty Ware

Assistant Coach

Education:
Christian Brothers University (BS in Communications 1994)
Belmont University (Master’s in Education 2004)
Louisiana State University (PhD in Kinesiology, in process)
About:
(In Rusty’s Words) “I was born an automotive enthusiast in the backseat of a Ford Gran Torino in Memphis, TN. Since achieving the legal driving age, I have owned more cars than I have years of driving experience. In my spare time, I graduated from Christian Brothers University with a B.S. in Marketing & Communications.

My professional background took me into electronic banking where I held positions with First Data and VISA. Deviating slightly from my career, I also obtained my M.Ed in Education from Belmont University. I am currently battling a Ph.D in Kinesiology at LSU where I was Team Captain, Club President and Secretary of the LSU Ice Hockey Club.

Some of the more fun jobs I’ve had include working for the Dallas Stars, Vanderbilt Football, and the Nashville Predators. I enjoy just about any type of physical activity, especially ice hockey, which I picked up later in life than I would have otherwise liked. I collect hockey sweaters and Robin Williams movies. I don’t particularly care for long walks on the beach or movies at the theater. Instead, I prefer to snow ski like my hair is on fire and wait for the better movies to come out on Redbox.”

Season Goals:
  • To assist the goaltenders in fine-tuning their capabilities
  • To develop a quality game presentation & operations system and staff
  • To provide experiential input and insight to coaching, team, and club leadership in building a winning, sustainable program
  • To acquire a Vanderbilt team jersey for my collection
Favorite Quote:
“It’s easier to create villains than solutions.”
– Neil Cavuto
Experience:
Coach Ware is entering his first season with the Vanderbilt ice hockey team and fifth as a member of the ACHA (LSU).

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