On July 30, 2012 Claire Lessinger joined the Tampa Bay Sports Commission (TBSC) as the Sales and Events Manager. In October of 2015, Claire was promoted to the Director of Special Events. The TBSC is a private, non-profit, 501c3, charitable corporation that serves the entire Tampa Bay area as the lead organization for bidding on and hosting premiere sports and entertainment events.
Lessinger and the TBSC are responsible for driving economic and social impact by identifying, bidding on, and ultimately hosting sporting and entertainment events in Tampa Bay. Over the last four years Tampa Bay has played host to a handful of NCAA Championships; the 2015 NCAA D.II Women’s Volleyball Championship, the 2015 Women’s Final Four, the 2016 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, the 2016 D.II Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships, the 2018 NCAA D.I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field East Preliminaries and the NCAA D.II Women’s Lacrosse Championship where Lessinger served as the Local Organizing Committee’s Tournament Manager for all of them. As the event’s point guard, Lessinger was the liaison to the NCAA staff and the Tampa Bay community and managed day-to-day operations for the Tampa Bay Local Organizing Committee (TBLOC). In 2017, Lessinger and the TBLOC hosted the first College Football Playoff National Championship in the Southeast at Raymond James Stadium on January 9th, 2017. Lessinger helped manage operations, logistics and marketing/promotions for the ancillary events associated with the Championship. Tampa Bay set record attendance numbers at Playoff Fan Central at the Tampa Convention Center, AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! at Curtis Hixon Park, Media Day and Media Party at Amalie Arena, TASTE of the Championship at the Florida Aquarium and the Extra Yard 5K along iconic Bayshore Boulevard. Most recently, Lessinger and Team Tampa Bay hosted a wildly successful NHL All-Star Weekend in partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning and now Lessinger is serving as the Executive Director of the 2019 Women’s Final Four Local Organizing Committee as Tampa Bay prepares to host the premier women’s championship for a third time this April.
In addition to serving as the Director of Special Events, Lessinger has been instrumental in piloting successful legacy programs and social impact initiatives like the “Beyond Series”, which focuses on gathering and empowering local women of influence in support of major sporting events hosted in Tampa Bay. As a result, over 500 local women of influence have participated in the Beyond Series programming throughout the years. Lessinger also served on the Tampa Bay Local Organizing Committee for the 2015 NACWAA Convention (National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators), is an Executive Board Member of USF’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy (WLP) and the Chair of the mentoring committee, an Executive Board Member for Positive Coaching Alliance – Tampa Bay, on the Glazer Children’s Museum Marketing Committee, on the Saint Leo Sport Business Advisory Council and a newly initiated member of the prestigious Athena Society. Lessinger was also recently featured as one of the most influential women in Tampa Bay sports by the Tampa Bay Times.
Lessinger came to the TBSC from the University of South Florida (USF) where she spent eight years as the head volleyball coach (2004-2012) and seven as the assistant volleyball coach (1996-2003). As head coach, Lessinger helped transform the program into a BIG EAST Conference Championship contender, earning conference tournament appearances in each of her last four seasons. While coaching, she served as the President and Vice President of the BIG EAST Coaches Association and Chair of the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association (AVCA) All-Region Committee. Lessinger was also a member of the AVCA All American Committee in 2011.
Prior to her coaching career at USF, Lessinger spent five years as a collegiate volleyball player at the University of Florida (UF) where she won five SEC Championships, participated in five NCAA Tournaments and three Final Four’s. In honor of her relentless effort, hard work and dedication, the UF volleyball program established the "Claire Roach Defensive Award," which is still presented annually to the best defensive player on the team.
Lessinger was inducted into Clearwater Central Catholic High School’s Hall of Fame inaugural class on May 5, 2001. She was named the Tampa Tribune’s 1992 High School Athlete of the Year and the 1993 High School Female Athlete of the Year. She graduated from UF in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sports science with a concentration in sports management. Claire and her husband, Mike reside in Tampa with their two sons Tyler (10) and Tanner (7).