Leicester Riders announce departure of Managing Director Russell Levenston

Leicester Riders announce the departure of Managing Director Russell Levenston.

Russell is moving on to pursue new opportunities, after 17 years with the Club.

Riders wish to thank Russell for his great service to the Club, which covered a period of very significant developments off the court, and exceptional success on the court.

The Board and all the staff and players at the Riders wish Russell well in all his future endeavours.

Leicester Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge commented:

“Thank you to Russell for great service over many years, which helped to develop and grow the Club. His work is appreciated by everybody at the Riders, and we wish him luck for whatever is next.”

Please stand by for further communications from the Club, which will be provided in the coming days.

A message from Russell Levenston

Dear Riders Fans, Sponsors, Staff, and Volunteers,

After 17 years, more latterly as Managing Director of the Leicester Riders, it is with a very heavy heart that I must say goodbye. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has supported me since I joined the club. I have countless stories and fond memories shared with the people whose lives we as a club have impacted.

My journey with the Riders began in 2007 when I moved from Milton Keynes to Leicester as a young British basketball fanatic. Vince Macaulay, my mentor for over 30 years, guided me as I took the bold step of investing in the Leicester Riders. Many thought I was crazy, but I believed in the potential of British basketball to change lives. I am proud to say that belief has been validated by the programs’ successes – the men’s team winning 17 BBL national titles in the past 11 years and the women’s team securing 4 WBBL national titles.

One of my proudest achievements has been establishing pathways for athletes in partnership with Loughborough University, Loughborough College, and Charnwood College. These pathways have allowed aspiring professional athletes to receive high-level education comparable to opportunities in the USA and other countries. The academy’s success in EABL, WEABL, and BUCS is a testament to our efforts.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Robert Jelley for his unwavering support, both personally and financially. Without Robert’s support, the Leicester Riders program would not be where it is today, and I am forever grateful for his contributions. Robert helped lay the foundations and supported a great community program that has changed many lives.

My passion has always been to prove that British basketball can be successful both on and off the court with the right approach. I want to thank every Riders fan, volunteer, player, and staff member who believed in the vision and direction of the club. Your support has been invaluable, especially in those early days.

There are many players and staff I would like to acknowledge, but I must single out Rob Paternostro, who has been a colleague and great friend for the past 16 years. Our journey together has been filled with challenges, but I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else. I have loved every minute of it both the ups and downs! 

To the sponsors and partners, thank you for your unwavering support and belief in our vision. Your passion and commitment have been instrumental in our success.

Lastly, I want to thank my family. My parents and brothers, who initially thought I was crazy for leaving my job at Reebok in 2007 to take on this project, have supported me every step of the way. My amazing wife has been my rock, enduring my 24/7 work schedule, and my children, who have become diehard Riders fans. One of my best moments was during the playoffs this year, seeing Noah on the drums and Lydia on the horn, rallying the Riders fans. My family has shared many special moments with me during this journey, and I couldn’t have done it without their support. 

As I step away, I am not sure what comes next other than taking some time off to spend with my family. However, I am confident that I will not be far from British basketball for long.

Good luck to all of the Riders family and to Kevin Routledge, who will continue to take the Riders program forward.

With gratitude and best wishes,

Russell Levenston