A highly respected leader in international sport, Jim Scherr brings the unmatched experience and success of having served as CEO of a National Governing Body (USA Wrestling), National Olympic Committee (the United States Olympic Committee) and international multi-sport games (European Games) to his role as CEO of World Lacrosse. He was appointed as the first-ever CEO of World Lacrosse 2017 and has led the organization through a period of unprecedented growth, including securing record levels of private funding, the introduction of a new name and brand identity for the International Federation, the appointment of a full-time professional staff, and a significant expansion in benefits and services offered to members.
From 2003-09, Scherr was CEO of the United States Olympic Committee, the first Olympian (Seoul 1988) to serve in that position. While overseeing 45 Olympic sports, Scherr directed the day-to-day operations at a time when the USOC enjoyed unparalleled success. At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the United States collected 110 medals, then the most ever for an American Olympic team in a non-boycotted Games, and produced record television ratings. The United States also set a record for medal production in a non-U.S. Winter Games with 25 at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games.
During his tenure as CEO of the USOC, Scherr fostered productive working relationships with the International Olympic Committee and international sport federations, U.S. National Governing Bodies, and leaders in business and philanthropy. Under his leadership, the USOC delivered its strongest financial performance in history, and America’s athletes enjoyed unparalleled success on the field of play. As CEO, he worked with the Congressional Task Force and volunteer leadership to direct a historic governance reform process, reducing the size of the board of directors from 125 to 11 and producing significant financial savings related to governance costs. In conjunction with the IOC, Scherr also helped negotiate the sale of media rights in the U.S. market to NBC for a record $2.01 billion, along with a sponsorship to GE for $200 million, in 2003.
Scherr joined the USOC staff as chief of sport performance in November 2000. As head of sport performance, he was responsible for directing many USOC programs and services to support the development of athletes in the United States. During this time, the USOC won 34 medals at the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the most ever for the United States (the previous high was 13).
Prior to joining the USOC, Scherr served as executive director of USA Wrestling from 1990 to 2000, an era that saw record growth of the sport and unprecedented success on the mat in world and Olympic competition. Scherr was the first executive director of USA Wrestling who was still an active athlete and was the youngest executive director in the Olympic Movement at the time.
Scherr’s first Olympic experience came as a competitor in the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, where both he and his twin brother competed for Team USA in wrestling. Scherr finished fifth in Seoul, and was a silver medalist at the world championships in 1987 and 1989. He was also the world cup champion in 1986 and 1989; the Pan American champion in 1989; and the U.S. national champion in 1986, 1987 and 1989. Scherr was a two-time All-American and NCAA champion (1984) wrestler at the University of Nebraska from 1981-84.
Scherr earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
A native of Mobridge, South Dakota, USA, Scherr has also served on the founding task force for U.S. Paralympics and served as chair of U.S. Paralympics. He is a founding member of the Partnership for Clean Competition with colleagues from the MLB, NFL and NBA, and served as its first chair. In 2020, Scherr was appointed to the World Anti-Doping Agency Finance and Administration Committee.
Scherr is a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Order of Merit Award Winner and has been inducted to the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame for accomplishments in sports management and administration. He is also a past chair of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.