TORONTO, Ont. (September 8, 2021) – The Canada Basketball Board of Directors announced Wednesday that Glen Grunwald will be retiring as President & CEO of Canada Basketball. Michael Bartlett will succeed Grunwald and has been appointed President & CEO of Canada Basketball, effective October 1, 2021.
“The last three years with Canada Basketball have featured some of the most rewarding and impactful moments of my career, thanks in large part to all the passionate people who are deeply invested and committed to seeing the game continue to grow,” said Grunwald. “From the staff at Canada Basketball to the dedicated members of our PTSOs across the country and everyone involved in the game in between, I know the future of our sport is in great hands."
With over 30 years of basketball experience, Grunwald will remain involved with Canada Basketball as an Executive Advisor for Basketball Operations, where he will oversee the organization’s evolving high-performance strategy and systems, as well as continue to lead Canada’s long-standing efforts to build a national training centre to better develop and grow the game here at home.
“Canada Basketball has a dynamic new leader with Michael Bartlett as the new President & CEO, a tremendous board of directors, and a talented and dedicated management team,” Grunwald said. “I look forward to continuing to contribute to basketball as a consultant with Canada Basketball, as a senior advisor to the Memphis Grizzlies, and as the Chair of HoopDome. We all must continue to work together to unify and unite our basketball nation.”
Grunwald was instrumental in leading the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic and positioning Canada Basketball for sustained success by identifying several key strategic priorities, as outlined in the Unifying Basketball Nation 2024 Strategic Plan. Additionally, he oversaw the successful merger of the Canadian Association of Basketball Officials (CABO) into the Canadian Basketball Officials Commission (CBOC). Under Grunwald’s leadership, Canada Basketball has also made important progress on Safe Sport, launched Unified 2024, a multi-year program designed to lead the organization’s equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and signed a multi-year broadcast and event partnership with Sportsnet.
In addition, he was instrumental in developing a strong working relationship with the CEBL in the launch of that new professional league. During his tenure, Canada Basketball also partnered with Friends of Victoria Basketball to host a FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Canada this past summer and with the City of Edmonton to host the FIBA Women's Olympic Pre-Qualifying Americas Tournament in 2019.
"Having had the pleasure of working alongside Glen during the early days of the Toronto Raptors to the last several years at Canada Basketball, I can assure you that there are not many people in our country who have had such a positive impact on the sport than he has," said Brian Cooper, Chair, Canada Basketball Board of Directors. “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank Glen for his leadership and dedication to not only Canada Basketball but to the overall growth of the game in Canada.”
“While he is retiring from his position as President & CEO, Glen is a basketball lifer and a trusted expert of the game with over 30 years of experience in so many different facets of basketball,” Cooper said. “That’s why I felt it was critical to the future success of our organization that he stay involved and consult on a number of important basketball operations projects for our organization.”
Originally from Franklin Park, IL, Grunwald first came to Toronto to help launch the expansion Toronto Raptors in 1994. After beginning as VP Legal Affairs and Assistant General Manager, Grunwald became General Manager in 1997, a position he held for seven years.
Following two years away from the game as the President & CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, Grunwald was drawn back into the world of basketball when he joined the New York Knicks in 2006, spending the next seven years there, including the last two as Executive Vice-President and General Manager.
As a player, Grunwald captured the NCAA Division I national championship in 1981 while playing for Hall of Fame Coach Bobby Knight at Indiana University and was drafted by the Boston Celtics.
Prior to joining Canada Basketball in October 2018, Grunwald spent the previous four years as Director, Athletics and Recreation at McMaster University before stepping down to accept a consulting role with the Memphis Grizzlies, a position he will continue to hold going forward.
"When Glen and I were hiring for the role of Chief Operating Officer earlier this year, finding a candidate who we felt could one day step in and lead this organization was critical," said Cooper. "Michael has already proven himself to be a very capable executive and leader who will undoubtedly continue to elevate and evolve Canada Basketball, both on and off the court, for years to come.”
“In just a few short months, he has completely transformed the strategic priorities of our business operations and brought a fresh perspective and vision for how to develop a robust and sustainable business model for Canada Basketball so that it most effectively supports our medal winning aspirations,” said Cooper.
Bartlett, who joined Canada Basketball as Chief Operating Officer in March, will continue to be focused on growing the business of basketball in Canada, by establishing stable funding for the organization through the launch of new event properties and commercial partnerships. The growth of the business will be invested back into the grassroots growth of the game and the continued development of Canada Basketball’s high-performance system, so that Canada can produce highly competitive teams on the global stage, for years to come.
“I’m incredibly honoured to be chosen by the board of directors as Canada’s Basketball’s next President & CEO,” said Bartlett. “Having the opportunity to lead this organization during undoubtedly the golden age of basketball in Canada is a dream and I look forward to continuing to build on Glen's tireless efforts over the last three years.”
“On-court success and reaching the podium remains of utmost importance, but our success will be sustained by continued development of the game at the grassroots level and by being active leaders in communities across the country,” said Bartlett.
Bartlett joined Canada Basketball after having spent the past ten years in a variety of roles with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), including most recently as the Vice President of Community Affairs & Events. During his time at MLSE, Bartlett was responsible for the development and execution of the organization’s largest events, including the 2016 NBA All Star Weekend, Playoff Viewing Parties at Maple Leaf Square, and the operations of the 2020 NHL Hub campus in Toronto. Bartlett also oversaw government relations, player relations and the sport development portfolios for MLSE and MLSE Foundation, working closely with municipal, Provincial and Federal Governments, MLSE’s teams and multiple professional leagues to help grow sport across Canada.
“Basketball, and sport in general, has the power to bring us together and as an organization, Canada Basketball will continue to prioritize equity in our game and we will work to inspire the next generation to be not only great players, coaches and officials but even better people,” Bartlett said. “You can count on me to foster collaboration across our national teams and staff, our PTSOs, officials, our commercial partners and all levels of government to help unify our nation, through basketball.”