ROXBURY, NJ – Keith Knudsen, the former recreation and cultural affairs director for Maplewood, has been chosen to replace longtime Roxbury Recreation Director Dave Stierli, it was announced tonight.

Knudsen’s hiring was announced by Roxbury Manager Christopher Raths. He said Knudsen, a former Roxbury resident now living in Jefferson, will begin working Feb. 24.

Knudsen worked for Maplewood for three years. Before that, he was West Milford’s recreation director, a post he held after serving as the assistant recreation director for Mt. Olive.

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“We got over 60 applications for the position nationwide,” said Raths. He said paring down the applicants “was an extensive process.”

Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall, who said he was a part of that process, praised Raths for the effort and said he thinks Knudsen was the right choice.

The retiring Stierli has been Roxbury’s parks and recreation department director for 36 years. In seeking applicants for the $82,000-per-year position, Roxbury said it was looking for “a proven leader in the parks and recreation field.”

Raths, referring to Stierli's many accomplishments and popularity in Roxbury, said Knudsen "has big shoes to fill, obviously," adding, "We welcome him to the team."

He said Knudsen will be attending a future meeting of the mayor and council for a formal introduction. "It's not going to be us who tells him how big the shoes are (he has to fill), it's the public because they love Mr. Stierli," said Roxbury Mayor Jim Rilee.