Class of 1999, member of the Yale Men’s Golf Team, 1995-1999 (Team captain, 1998-1999)
The interview was conducted on June 28, 2006 by John Godley by telephone. Gary was talking from his car as he drove to work in Los Angeles.
Benerofe played golf for Rye Country Day School in Westchester County N.Y., and was prepared to attend either Duke or the University of Michigan, when Coach Paterson called. Gary doesn’t know how David Paterson came to call him, but he did accept his invitation to visit Yale. “A raucous weekend with the golf team’ and he was “sold on attending Yale”.
In his first year the team had 10 players, of which half were freshmen. By his senior year recruiting had been so successful [partly because of the team’s success] that there were 25-30 on the roster. This large number meant that each practice round was very competitive and “grueling”, but the result was a stronger team.
He believes that the total Yale golf experience helped to “teach you who you really are…and where you are as a person.” As a senior he was elected Captain. He received the second largest number of votes. Scott Brinker [Captain as a junior and Gary’s roommate] had received the highest number of votes, but he requested that the person [he didn’t know who it was] who received the next highest vote total be named Captain, so that someone else could have the great experience.
Gary characterized his Yale education as “fantastic” with the best part just “being among the student body”. He was an economics major, with an interest in architecture and history. After graduation he worked for Lehman Brothers for 3 years in San Francisco. When the “Internet bubble burst” he moved to NYC and started two Indie rock bands. He played drums and sang. He also started a successful new record label. He then went to UCLA, where he received an MBA in 2005. He is now Manager of Digital Sales Development for EMI Records.
Gary now rarely plays golf, but he continues to value the role that Coach Paterson played in his life. “He was like a second father to me and many others”.