AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Jim Irsay is the son of Robert and Harriet Irsay and had two siblings. His brother, Thomas, was born mentally disabled and his sister, Roberta, died in a car accident in 1971.
Jim Irsay has been a key figure in the Indianapolis Colts' front office since they arrived in the Hoosier capital March 29, 1984. His maneuvering helped the Colts trade for Eric Dickerson during the 1987 season. In 1996, Jim Irsay, then 36, assumed the mantle of Indianapolis Colts owner from his father Robert. Since then, the Colts have become an NFL heavyweight on the skills of former NFL No. 1 draft pick Peyton Manning. Three division championships in six years are a testament to Manning's arm and Irsay's vision.
When Jim Irsay assumed ownership from his late father, Robert Irsay, he set a personal al of raising the bar for performance and putting together a team of players and coaches that could win for the long run. The results of the past seasons demonstrate that is well on his way to achieving that goal.
Of the team's future, he says, "With five playoff appearances in six years, with one of the youngest teams in the league, with players and coaches that put character up there with football, we are definitely well positioned. We have talent and continuity.
We have fans that are loyal and loud. In short, we are ready."
Irsay is one of the most experienced owners in the NFL. Since his family acquired the team on July 13, 1972, from Rosenbloom, he has been connected closely to all aspects of the franchise operation. "I started as a ball boy and have worked in virtually every non-player, non-coaching position in -our organization, so I really learned the game from inside out," Irsay recalls.
He joined the professional staff in 1982, following his college graduation. He was named Vice President and General Manager in 1984 when the club moved to Indianapolis. He served in that capacity until taking the role of Senior Executive Vice President, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer in April of 1996.
When his father died in 1997, Jim Irsay became at 37 the youngest team owner in the NFL - and, after a legal fight with his stepmother, he assumed full ownership of the team - one of the few with 100 percent control of a team.
Robert Irsay had made his fortune in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning business and bought the team as a sideline, but his son made the Colts his career and his only significant business venture.
Under his leadership, the Colts have made eight playoff appearances, won four division titles and advanced to the AFC Championship Game following the 1995 and 2003 season.
An active and participating owner, Irsay serves on the Executive Committee of the League's Management Council, one of the NFL's most prestigious working groups. He also serves on the Super Bowl Policy Committee. Past involvement includes work on the Pro-College Relations Committee. He was also part of the Realignment Working Group and the Working Club Executive Committee that authored the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement in 1993.
He is also active in the team's community which he defines as "Greater Indiana" With the organization of the Colts Alliance in December of 2002, Irsay spearheaded plans to aggressively build the fan base by regionalizing the team actively involving companies, organizations and schools in the team's programs. "We've made headway with the Alliance and we're optimistic that the involvement participation and support will continue to grow," he said.
On Nov. 12, 2002, Irsay acknowledged he had previously sought treatment for an addiction to prescription pain medication. His statement came in response to a broadcast report by WTHR (Channel 13) alleging that Irsay had been addicted to prescription medication for at least seven years and was under investigation for possible prescription drug fraud.
Law enforcement officials then confirmed an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration into local physicians and pharmacies suspected of providing excessive prescriptions for painkillers.
Jim and his wife, oversee the Colts' extensive contributions program. Currently, Jim serves on the boards of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, United Way of Central Indiana, The Indy Partnership and Noble of Indiana. They have been major supporters of The Julian Center, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse that also sponsors programs to eliminate the problem. In 2003, the Irsays created a challenge fund and raised more than $250,000 in just 30 days for a homelessness initiative. The Irsays and Colts have also been a multi-year sponsor of Youthlinks Indiana which has rasied more than $4.5 million for promising athletes, Indiana high school and college students and various charities throughout Indiana.
The Colts contribute in many ways. In addition to cash donations, the franchise provides merchandise and tickets to hundreds of organizations each year. The Union Federal Football Center includes a Pavilion that is offered to not-for-profit groups for their fundraising events. Hundreds of organizations have used the facility since its introduction.
As part of its support for Indianapolis' culture tourism initiative, the Irsays funded a three-year sponsorship of Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana's premier professional contemporary dance company. They also supported the Hoosier Environmental Council in 2003 for its 20th anniversary, sponsored its major membership drive in 2004 as well as the Reaching Out to Kids project of the Wabash Riverkeeper Program. In addition to the support of arts and environment, the Colts and the Irsays have funded a research program at the Indiana University Cancer Center and a 10-year program with Noble of Indiana to help children with disabilities.
Irsay was born June 13, 1959 in Lincolnwood, Ill. He attended Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., where he played golf, boxed and was an avid weight-conditioner. He received his bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 1982. Irsay played linebacker for a year and a half with the Mustangs as a walk-on before an ankle injury ended his career.
Known for his habit of quoting rock music lyrics, Irsay built a recording studio in his Carmel, Ind., estate and has been known to take his guitar on Colts road trips and play in the hotel until 2 or 3 in the morning. An avid collector, he acquired a guitar owned by Elvis Presley and in 2002 purchased the original manuscript to Jack Kerouac's "On The Road," for which he paid $2.43 million.
Jim Irsay married Meg Coyle in 1980.
Jim and Meg have three daughters, Carlie (24), Casey (22) and Kalen (18).
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