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Patrick W. Wilson named chief operation officer

In 2019, the Little League International board of directors approved the commissioning of a plan to evaluate and strengthen the organizational structure of Little League International. At this year’s annual meeting, the board approved the initial step in this plan with the announcement of the elevation of Patrick W. Wilson to chief operating officer.

“Little League is the largest and most well-respected youth sports organization in the world, and, to rise to the challenges of evolving communities and the coronavirus pandemic, we must also continue to strategically evolve our program,” said Hugh E. Tanner, Little League International board of directors chairman.

“With the leadership of Steve Keener, as President and CEO, we’re confident that in his new role as COO, Pat is uniquely positioned and qualified to oversee the day-to-day operations, while embracing new challenges and fulfilling important strategic program initiatives,” said Tanner. “We will continue to prioritize our player-centric approach to making Little League a valuable, meaningful experience for all children, families, and volunteers, and we’re pleased Pat has accepted this opportunity to guide our staff and volunteers on this shared mission.”

Wilson will be responsible for all day-to-day operations of Little League International, overseeing all facets of the organization. Keener and Wilson will work in tandem to evaluate all levels of the organization to provide the appropriate resources, staff, and guidance for the organization’s future success. Little League International senior vice presidents Liz DiLullo Brown, chief marketing officer; Karl Eckweiler, chief legal officer, and Dave Houseknecht, chief financial officer; were re-appointed as officers of Little League Baseball, Incorporated, and, along with their teams, will work with Wilson in support of these goals and strategic initiatives. Additionally, the board re-appointed Melissa Singer as treasurer of the corporation.

With the focus on supporting local Little League programs and directing future success, assessments of core functions, responsibilities and administrative support structure of Little League International will be assessed in coming months.

“Little League is part of the fabric of thousands of communities around the world, and we are committed to putting our millions of players first, as we provide support, services, and direction for our volunteers at our 6,500 programs,” said Keener. “For nearly 30 years, Pat has been at the heart of many of the successes of the Little League program. He has the respect of our volunteer field leaders, business partners, and his fellow colleagues. At this important time for our program, there is no one better suited to direct our operations and implement future strategic initiatives than Pat.”

In 1993, Wilson joined the Little League International operations staff. Over his 27-year tenure, his responsibilities have grown to overseeing the Little League International operations, including regional functions, international expansion, and serving as the Little League International tournament director. He has been instrumental in growing the scope of Little League’s relationship with ESPN, working with MLB on strategic partnerships including the MLB Little League Classic, and overseeing the development of the organization’s strategic plan.

“Over my tenure at Little League, I have had the privilege to work with so many talented colleagues and volunteers to bring the Little League program to new heights, and I’m honored to embrace this new position as we work together under Steve’s leadership to write the next chapter of our organization’s great story,” said Wilson.

“We started this year with rolling out our strategic plan, and even as we adjusted to face the new challenges to our leagues and business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we were able to launch our Little League Sandlot Fun Days; establish a modernized mission, logo, and look; provide exemplary customer service; and find innovative ways to connect with your communities. As we continue to navigate the challenges ahead of us, I am confident in the talents and commitment of our staff and volunteers to embrace these strategic goals that will guide the future of our great program,” he said

Approved by the Little League International Board of Directors at their 2019 annual meeting, in tandem with an assessment of the staffing structure of the organization, the Little League International strategic plan focuses on a player-centric approach to all facets of the organization. Rallying around One Team. One Little League., initial phases of the strategic plan including the launch of Little League’s new mission and logo; establishing new playing opportunities through initiatives including Little League Sandlot Fun Days; and growing opportunities for female participants through partnerships like Athletes Unlimited. Additional pillars of the strategic plan include providing new financial support opportunities for local Little League programs, enhancing coaching resources with an emphasis at the youngest levels of play, finding innovative ways to bring new communities around the world into the Little League program, and the announced expansion of the Little League Baseball and Softball World Series events in 2022. The plan will continue to be adapted to meet the challenges our leagues and volunteers face throughout the pandemic.

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