FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASETORONTO, ONTARIO—Jim Scherr, former CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, has been named as the first CEO of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL).
The FIL, formed in 2008 as the result of a merger between the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Associations and the International Lacrosse Federation, is the international governing body for lacrosse. The organization has experienced rapid growth in recent years, and now boasts 56 member nations on six continents. The FIL conducts international championships for men’s and women’s lacrosse.
In 2012, the FIL was accepted into SportAccord, the umbrella organization for Olympic and non-Olympic sports. The following year, the FIL was accepted into the International World Games Association (IWGA). This summer in Poland, women’s lacrosse will be one of the 31 sports included in the IWGA’s World Games schedule, marking the first time lacrosse has been included in the event that dates back to 1981. That event will take place following the FIL Women’s World Championship in Guildford, England.
“Over the last 10-15 years, we’ve seen such positive growth. Not only with the number of countries, but the movement towards our Olympic vision. The day-to-day details had gotten to be too much for a seven-person volunteer board to handle. Now we can move forward in a more professional, timely manner. We’re hoping this is just our first full-time position with more to come. I think the sport deserves it.”
—Stan Cockerton, FIL President
Stan CockertonThe FIL has found an experienced leader in Scherr, who has been involved in sports administration for nearly 30 years. He competed for the U.S. Olympic team in wrestling in the 1988 Seoul Games.
After serving 10 years as the executive director of USA Wrestling, Scherr joined the USOC in 2000 as the chief of sports performance. He served in that role until 2003 when he was named the interim CEO for the USOC and then served as the CEO from 2005 to 2009.
“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity. Lacrosse is growing around the world, and I think it has tremendous potential to return to the Olympic program. The goal of the IOC is to modernize the Olympics and make it more relevant. Lacrosse certainly brings that. It’s an ideal Olympic sport.”
—Jim Scherr, FIL Chief Executive Officer
Scherr’s most recent role was as the executive director for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, the governing body for the U.S. Paralympic team. He has also served as the COO of the Baku European Games Organizing Committee, the commissioner of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the CEO of 776 Original Marketing.
“Jim had experience in all of the job description pillars we were seeking,” Cockerton said. “Marketing, event management, governance, strategic thought, and he has a wealth of international experience.”
Scherr’s task will be to focus on strengthening the FIL while pursuing the Olympic vision.
“The first thing is to get to know the individuals from the countries around the world that have driven the sport forward and build on those relationships,” Scherr said. “We want to improve the championships and increase the marketability of the sport.”
While doing so, the sport will be better positioned to gain Olympic recognition. Scherr has plenty of experience of understanding the value of the Olympics from his dual experiences as athlete and administrator.
“The public is captivated by the stories of the athletes,” Scherr said. “People associate incredible individual effort with the Olympic rings and they also associate it with more than sport. It’s a worldwide peace effort that brings the world together like nothing else does.”
Scherr begins his duties as FIL’s Chief Executive Officer next month on June 19th.—Brian Logue, Contributing Editor (Director of Communications, US Lacrosse)