The board works hard behind the scenes to keep the Nashville GAC rolling throughout the year. We’re here to help you, but first you have to know who to turn to, right?
Chair: Ryan Buckley
Buckley, also known to some as Tim and to others as Ryan, is serving his second year as Chairman. He’s had a long love affair with Irish sports after discovering them while traveling abroad in college. He returned from Ireland and started the MTSU hurling club, which provided support in numbers and skill when the Nashville GAC was created.
He’s a web developer by trade and donated his considerable skill to the Nashville GAC. He also provides graphic design for all marketing materials and developed the club’s brand. When he’s not hurling, he’s probably building rustic farmhouse furniture with his wife, Molly.
You can reach out to him when have fundraising ideas, sponsorship recommendations, or you have a friend who’s interested in Irish sports and wants to learn more.
Vice Chair: Liam Barry
In his home of Cork City, Liam stopped playing hurling at the ripe old age of eight. He started again at age thirty-eight when he joined the Nashville GAC just one month after the first training was held at Centennial Park. He’s served on the board in some capacity ever since, first as Registrar, and then as Vice Chair and interim Secretary.
His day job as Director of IT Operations means he approaches everything with his considerable analytical brain, but he’s also the first to crack open a beer or just crack everyone up with his quick wit. When he’s not playing hurling, he’s either at a board meeting, watching Manchester United with the supporter’s club at Franklin Abbey, or traveling with his wife, Jen.
Fun fact about Liam? His first wife became a nun.
You can contact Liam if you want to serve on a committee or otherwise provide your talents for the growth and support of the club.
Secretary: Danny Espensen
Danny found hurling after coming out to give Gaelic football a try. After kicking around a little bit, he picked up a hurl and hasn’t looked back. One of the newest members of the club, he’s also one of our most passionate. He says he doesn’t remember life before hurling, but it must have been pretty terrible. Except, of course, for his wife, Sarah, who makes everything pretty great.
As a lawyer, Danny brings a great deal of organization to the role of secretary. He also pitches in to make sure we always have our backsides covered. He’s a smart guy.
You can reach out to Danny if you ever want to receive information about board meetings or see the minutes of the meetings.
Treasurer: Rayne Leonard
Also serving her second year on the board, Rayne serves as our treasurer. She keeps the money matters on point while also devising new ways to make paying dues and keeping records easier for everyone involved. She’s a brain. A big one.
Rayne, who grew up right here in Tennessee in a Scots Irish family, is a genomics research associate by day (See? Brain.), and when she’s not on the pitch, she can be found in a kayak, rock climbing, or hiking. During her first trip to Ireland, Rayne wasn’t too impressed with the weather. When temps hit 90 degrees in October in Nashville, she realized there might be a draw to the cool mist at the Cliffs of Moher after all.
Reach out to Rayne if you need to pay your club dues or if you want to make a donation to keep the club going and growing.
Registrar: Ryan Culligan
Nashville gained a gem when Louisville native decided to make Middle Tennessee home. As another of the NGAC’s newest members, Ryan has shown immense enthusiasm for Irish sports. He still likes to cheer on U of L whenever any of their sports teams play, though.
A bourbon enthusiast (can anyone from Kentucky not be a bourbon enthusiast?), Ryan spends time away from his job as a research analyst in pubs, probably enjoying bourbon and the occasional pub quiz. If he’s not on the pitch or in a pub—a pretty rare occasion—he’s reading sci-fi books or on a hike.
See Ryan if you haven’t filled out your registration forms and waivers before playing in spring and fall leagues.
Games Development: Brendan Rauer
Brendan Rauer joined the Nashville GAC within 48 hours of moving to Nashville three years ago. A Minnesota native, he honed his sports skills playing ice hockey and even played in the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament. He didn’t learn to play hurling until he moved to Milwaukee and joined the enormous club there.
Named after Brendan Behan, the famed Irish rebel and playwright, Rauer feels a deep connection to Irish culture. He’s a carpenter by trade, a builder of stunning cabinetry. When he’s not working or hurling, he loves hiking and enjoying live music.
If you’d like to be involved in training, developing, or otherwise supporting hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, or youth programs, Brendan is the man to talk to.
Member at Large: Chris Davis
Chris also came to the Nashville GAC by way of the hurling club at MTSU, where he is a PhD student. He teaches microbiology and shuffles colorless liquids around different vials day to day. When he’s not teaching or playing hurling, Chris has an array of hobbies that keep him busy and, most likely, awake at all hours, including gaming, rugby, cooking, Asian cinema, painting, trying to sing (probably at Santa’s Pub), and philosophy.
He’s passionate about Irish sports, and this shows through his creative curse words on the pitch as well as his encouragement to newcomers. He’s approachable and quick-witted, the perfect combination for a Member at Large.
When you have suggestions, comments, questions, or even complaints about the NGAC, talk to Chris. He’ll do his best to make sure you’re always heard.
PR and Marketing: Jen Barry
Jen spends her days freelance marketing and ghostwriting for various clients and then brings that skill to the NGAC after hours. She’s the only non-playing member on the board and has been since the earliest days of the club.
She has an operatic background, something she only uses on rare occasion at karaoke bars. When she’s not writing words for her clients or the NGAC, she publishes books for teens and young adults (and then crosses her fingers and says a little prayer that someone will buy them). She also loves to travel, especially to her husband’s home country of Ireland, though Vegas and New Orleans also hold special places in her heart.
Talk to Jen if you have publicity connections or want to help get the word out on social media. She’d also welcome fun blog topics, interview subjects, and any other assistance you might want to give on spreading the word about Irish sports and culture in Nashville.
So, that’s your 2017 board. Don’t be shy! Let us know if you can help, or if we can help you.