Vanderbilt men’s basketball head coach Jerry Stackhouse announced the promotion of Ian Thom and CJ Preston. Thom will serve as director of basketball operations, and Preston moves to the director of basketball research & special projects role.
Thom is elevating to his new position after spending the last two seasons on Stackhouse’s staff as a graduate assistant for the Commodores.
“We are thrilled to promote Ian Thom to a full-time position for the 2023-24 season,” Stackhouse said. “He has been an important and valuable piece to our success the past two seasons. He is a tremendous worker with great energy and organizational skills. Ian has a bright future in coaching and we are excited about his ability to continue helping our program as our director of basketball operations.”
As a graduate assistant, Thom was a consistent part of the individual improvement of players such as Scotty Pippen Jr., Liam Robbins and Rodney Chatman through on-court individual skill sessions. In his new position, Thom will coordinate team travel and handle day-to-day logistics for the program, in addition to other duties.
Thom began his coaching career as an assistant at Mount Saint Mary College in New York during the 2018-19 season. He moved on to coach at Gulf Shores High School in Alabama for two seasons.
Thom was a team captain and two-time all-conference performer as a basketball student-athlete at Birmingham-Southern. Following his collegiate career, Thom played professionally for Neptune BC in Ireland for one season.
He has also been contracted as a draft consultant for the NBA G-League.
Thom earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in economics from Birmingham-Southern in 2017. He continued his education by earning his master’s degree in marketing from the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland in 2018 and another master’s degree in leadership and organizational performance from Vanderbilt in 2023.
Preston has been promoted from assistant video coordinator to the director of basketball research & special projects. The 2023-24 season is his fourth overall on Stackhouse’s staff.
“CJ Preston has been an essential part of our program and coaching staff for the past three seasons,” Stackhouse said. “He has excelled within our video department and we are excited for him to leverage his knowledge of Vanderbilt and Nashville in his new expanded role. As the landscape of college basketball continues to evolve, CJ’s skillset and relationship building abilities will be extremely valuable in this new position.”
In his new role – among other duties – Preston will oversee alumni relations for the program, serve as the student-athlete career development liaison, and research trends across the college basketball landscape including NIL and the transfer portal to keep Vanderbilt ahead of the curve.
A Vanderbilt Man, Preston was previously elevated to the assistant video coordinator position before the 2022-23 season after spending the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant for the program.
Preston has been a mainstay with Vanderbilt athletics since he arrived on campus in 2014 as an undergrad. He was a student manager for the men’s basketball program from 2014-18. He went on to serve as an intern for the communications and marketing departments for Vanderbilt athletics during the 2019-20 academic year before becoming a graduate assistant for men’s basketball in 2020.
He is a two-time graduate of Vanderbilt, earning his bachelor’s degree in human and organizational development in 2018 before completing his master’s in leadership and organizational performance in 2022. He was a member of the Dean’s List three semesters as an undergrad.