As Tampa Bay prepares to host its fifth Super Bowl in February 2021, Claire will help lead the effort by serving as Chief Operating Officer for the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, overseeing internal operations, special events, legacy programming, and community engagement.
On July 30, 2012 Claire Lessinger joined the Tampa Bay Sports Commission team and now serves as the Vice President of 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 seven years Lessinger has served as the Tournament Manager for 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. As the event’s point guard, Lessinger was the liaison to the NCAA staff and the Tampa Bay community and helped manage 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. In 2018, Lessinger and Team Tampa Bay hosted a wildly successful NHL All-Star Weekend in partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning and most recently Lessinger served as the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Local Organizing Committee for the 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four which recorded the highest all-time attendance as a three-time host (123,039 fans).
Recognized as one of the most influential women in Tampa Bay sports by the Tampa Bay Times, 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 800 local women have participated in the Beyond Series throughout the years.
Active in the community, Claire serves on the Executive Boards of USF’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, Positive Coaching Alliance – Tampa Bay, University of Florida Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute and a founding member and Vice President of WISE Tampa Bay (Women in Sports and Event). Lessinger also serves as a mentor for the USF Athletics – Selmon Mentoring Institute and is an active member of the Saint Leo Sport Business Advisory Council and the Athena Society.
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).
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 Tournaments. 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. She graduated from UF in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sports science and a concentration in sports management.
Raised in Clearwater, Florida Lessinger was named the Tampa Tribune’s 1992 High School Athlete of the Year and the 1993 High School Female Athlete of the Year. Claire was inducted into Clearwater Central Catholic High School’s inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2001 and most recently she was honored as a Distinguished Alumni and presented the Inspiring Excellence Award at her alma mater.
Claire and her husband, Mike reside in Tampa with their two sons Tyler (12) and Tanner (9).