Former USA Team Handball CEO Michael D. Cavanaugh Announces Professional Retirement

Sept. 27, 2019, 6:02 a.m. (ET)


A former player and coach for the U.S. Men’s National Handball Team, Cavanaugh has dedicated his life to the Olympic Movement over the past four decades.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Team Handball’s director of operations and former CEO Michael D. Cavanaugh today announced his professional retirement from the organization, effective October 1. The longtime USA Team Handball player, coach and executive dedicated over 41 years to serving the Olympic Movement in a number of organizations and capacities.

“I am not sure I have ever met anyone with as much integrity, graciousness, and commitment to a sport than Mike Cavanaugh,” said USA Team Handball chief executive officer Barry Siff. “He has been a great mentor and colleague for me as I have entered the world of team handball, and I know he will continue to be a great resource for myself, as well as our entire organization for a long time to come.”

Cavanaugh first became involved with the sport of team handball through the Army Champs program while serving in The Old Guard, Recon, 1st BN, 3rd Infantry, the U.S. Army’s Official Ceremonial Unit and Escort to the President at Ft, Myer, Virginia. He went on to earn his BS (1974) and MS (1976) degrees in kinesiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), playing as a member of the MNT from 1973-1976 and serving as the MNT coach from 1978-1980.

The Ft. Dodge, Iowa native got his administrative start in the Olympic Movement as the Sport Manager and Competition Director for Team Handball for the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984. He was also the Competition Director for Team Handball at the 1987 Pan American Games and the 1990 Goodwill Games. Cavanaugh served three stints as ED/CEO of USA Team Handball from 1986-1997, 1999-2005 and 2014-2019. He also led USA Table Tennis as its chief executive officer from 2008 to 2014.


“I was blessed with an amazing set of extraordinary and wide-ranging experiences as a player, coach and administrator. Through tremendous peaks and valleys, I encountered remarkable people, all of whom shared a profound love for sport and team handball,” Cavanaugh said. “My motivation was to give back to the sport that provided me with so many opportunities and to perhaps enhance the athlete’s experience for those that came behind me. I am both humbled and thankful to have been a part of USA Team Handball.”

Cavanaugh also contributed to multiple committees within the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee as both a member and chairman, including the Games Prep Committee, the Committee on Sports for the Disabled and the Awards Committee. He remains dedicated to the sport of team handball outside of his professional career, and has coached for the United States Air Force Academy Team Handball Club in Colorado Springs for the past 17 years.

About USA Team Handball: USA Team Handball (USATH) is the U.S. National Governing Body for the Olympic discipline of Team Handball, and is responsible for the development of grassroots programs, preparation of national teams for international competition - including the Pan American and Olympic Games - as well as the day-to-day oversight of the sport of team handball in the United States. The mission of USATH is to develop, promote, educate and grow the sport of team handball at all levels domestically, and to enable U.S. athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence to win medals in international and Olympic competition. USATH is a member of the International Handball Federation, the North American and Caribbean Handball Confederation, and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Media Contact: Melissa Zhang | (508) 768-5649 | Melissa.Zhang@usateamhandball.org