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US Lacrosse CEO Steve Stenersen to retire at end of year

Steve Stenersen, chief executive officer of US Lacrosse since the group’s formation in 1998, announced Monday afternoon his decision to retire by the end of 2021.

Since being named executive director of The Lacrosse Foundation in 1984, Stenersen has been instrumental in creating a national structure for the sport, which resulted in the merger of eight national organizations to form US Lacrosse.

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“It has been the honor of a lifetime to steward US Lacrosse from its infancy to the extraordinary position the organization occupies today,” Stenersen said in a statement distributed by the organization. “I’m enormously proud of what has been accomplished to date and will be forever grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented and passionate co-workers and volunteers throughout the United States in service to the sport we love. My pride for US Lacrosse is matched only by my excitement about what I know will be a rewarding journey of continued success.”

"It's an important issue," US Lacrosse president and CEO Steve Stenersen said of concussions.
"It's an important issue," US Lacrosse president and CEO Steve Stenersen said of concussions. (AP photo)

Stenersen, a Baltimore native who graduated from St. Paul’s and helped North Carolina win two NCAA Division I lacrosse championships, served from 2006-14 as a board member and chairman for The Baltimore Station, a residential addiction recovery center for homeless veterans. He also was a member of the board of trustees for St. Paul’s from 2012-2019 and the board of directors for the Association of Chief Executives for Sport from 2012-18. He has been a member of the Tewaaraton Foundation’s board of directors since 2011.

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Over more than 20 years, US Lacrosse has invested more than $275 million into the development of the sport, making it one of the fastest-growing team sports in the country. Roughly 850,000 players compete on organized lacrosse teams in the United States each year, an increase of over 225% since US Lacrosse first started tracking data in 2001.

Through the support of members, generous donors and sponsors, US Lacrosse has created countless programs, educational resources and initiatives to fuel the sport’s expansion, such as the First Stick Program, TryLax, Sankofa Clinics, the Urban Lacrosse Alliance, physical education curriculum, and diversity grants. In the 2019-20, US Lacrosse awarded $2.3 million in grants to all 50 states.

In its first year, US Lacrosse had an annual operating budget of about $1 million and approximately 20,000 members nationwide. The organization’s annual operating budget has since exceeded $22 million and the number of US Lacrosse members grew to more than 430,000.

US Lacrosse opened a new 12-acre headquarters in Sparks in 2016. The complex includes a three-story administrative center named in honor of a lead gift from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association, the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum, and Tierney Field, which serves as the training center for the U.S. national team program.

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Steve Stenersen, president and CEO of U.S. Lacrosse, at their national headquarters and museum adjacent to the Johns Hopkins University campus. Behind him is a mural of an enlarged George Catlin painting showing Native Americans playing lacrosse in their museum.
Steve Stenersen, president and CEO of U.S. Lacrosse, at their national headquarters and museum adjacent to the Johns Hopkins University campus. Behind him is a mural of an enlarged George Catlin painting showing Native Americans playing lacrosse in their museum. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

“Great leaders are rare, and Steve has proven himself to be an incredible one for nearly four decades,” said Beth Lyman, who chairs the US Lacrosse Board of Directors. “Steve’s departure comes when he is at the top of his game, having built and led an outstanding organization that is now perfectly positioned to take advantage of new opportunities that lie ahead. The board of directors joins the entire lacrosse community in expressing our profound appreciation to Steve for helping to lead the sport and drive the organization to a place of programmatic and financial strength. While Steve will certainly leave huge shoes to fill, and his daily presence will be sorely missed, we are also thankful for, and excited about, the impressive foundation he is leaving US Lacrosse that can be built upon.”

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