Connecticut Sun exec Chris Sienko to resign, effective end of September
Chris Sienko announced today he will step down from his position as vice president, general manager and COO of the Connecticut Sun at the end of September.
Release from the Sun:
“This has been an amazing journey over the past fourteen years, and it is certainly going to be very difficult to leave the organization I helped to build,” said Sienko, who noted that overseeing four business units has been both exciting and grueling. “But I believe the time is right to explore opportunities with a singular focus and I am looking forward to the next challenge. I know the Sun is well-positioned for the future, with a great nucleus of young talent and an outstanding coaching staff. It will be fun to be a fan, and I look forward to cheering them on in the future.”
Among the longest-tenured executives in WNBA history, Sienko is also the Vice President and General Manager of the New England Black Wolves and a Vice President at Mohegan Sun with day-to-day oversight of sponsorship for all Mohegan Sun owned companies and regional marketing in Connecticut. Additional responsibilities have included overseeing preparations for the four WNBA All Star games, three WNBA Drafts and three American Athletic Conference tournaments hosted by Mohegan Sun.
“Chris has had a huge impact on making the Connecticut Sun the model franchise in the WNBA and then relocating the New England Black Wolves to the Mohegan Sun Arena,” Mitchell Etess said. “The energy and enthusiasm he brought to this and all the areas he oversaw here will be missed. On a personal note, I will miss working with Chris as I have for the last 14 years.”
In 2013, Sienko was appointed to serve on the 2013-16 USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. He helped pick the 2014 USA World Championship team and the 2016 United States Olympic team currently competing for the Gold Medal in Brazil.
Sienko was named General Manager of the Sun shortly after the Mohegan Tribe purchased the Orlando Miracle and relocated the team to Connecticut on January 28, 2003.
During his tenure, Connecticut became the first profitable team in WNBA history and has maintained a positive revenue flow in every year since 2007. Sienko helped orchestrate 22 trades during his tenure and the Sun advanced to the postseason eight times, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals five times and the WNBA Finals twice. He hired head coaches Mike Thibault, Anne Donovan and Curt Miller.
“Chris has played an instrumental role in the success of professional women’s basketball both in the ABL and the WNBA and I can’t begin to thank him enough for the confidence and continued belief he has showed in our staff,” Miller said. “He was a tremendous mentor in our short time together, and I truly value our friendship. We shared a vision for this young and developing team and I promised him that I would continue to work tirelessly to help turn our dreams into a reality.”
Sienko was the impetus behind the creation of the Connecticut Sun Foundation, a not-for-profit founded in 2007. The Foundation has awarded multiple scholarships over the years along with charitable efforts that led to donations to the OneOrlando Fund in June, Red Cross Oklahoma Tornado relief in 2013 and Red Cross relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as community outreach to local shelters. Sienko has served on the Foundation board since its inception.
Sienko serves on many different committees for the WNBA, including the Competition Committee, Rules and Regulations, Marketing, Advertising and Sponsorship. He is also on an advisory committee made up of all the COO’s in the league.