|Born||June 13, 1959 (age 54)
Hungarian Jewish father
|Education||Southern Methodist University|
|Known for||owner of the Indianapolis Colts|
|Net worth|| US $ 1.5 billion (est.)
|Spouse(s)||Meg Coyle, 3 children|
Early life and education
Irsay was born in Lincolnwood, Illinois, the son of Harriet (née Pogorzelski) and Chicago businessman Robert Irsay. His father was from a Hungarian Jewish family and his mother was the daughter of Polish Catholic immigrants. Irsay was raised Catholic, and did not know about his father's Jewish heritage until he was fourteen. Jim's brother, Robert, was born with a mental disability and died in 1999, and his sister, Roberta, died in a car accident in 1971. Irsay attended high school at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois a suburb just north of Chicago, Illinois and at Mercersburg Academy '78, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. After high school he attended, and graduated from, Southern Methodist University in 1982 with a degree in broadcast journalism. Irsay played linebacker for the SMU Mustangs football team as a walk-on, but an ankle injury ended his playing career.
Irsay was 12 years old when his father, Robert Irsay, purchased the Baltimore Colts. After graduating from SMU in 1982 he joined the Colts' professional staff. He was named Vice President and General Manager in 1984, one month after the Colts left Baltimore in the middle of the night, using moving vans to leave the city of Baltimore, traveling to Indianapolis. After his father suffered a stroke in 1995 Jim assumed day-to-day management with the role of Senior Executive Vice President, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer in April 1996. When his father died in 1997 Jim engaged in a legal battle with his stepmother over ownership of the team, but later became the youngest NFL team owner at that time at 37. He controls 100% of the franchise.
Irsay married Meg Coyle in 1980, and the couple have three daughters, Carlie, Casey and Kalen.
Irsay has a habit of quoting rock music. It is rumored that he brings his guitar on Colts road trips and plays until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. In 2001 Irsay purchased the original manuscript of On The Road, or "the scroll": a continuous, one hundred twenty-foot scroll of tracing paper sheets that Jack Kerouac cut to size and taped together, for $2.43 million. Irsay is a big fan of British rock band The Who. Irsay also has purchased guitars originally owned by Elvis Presley, George Harrison, and Jerry Garcia.
In 2009 Irsay was vocal about preventing a group that included talk-show host Rush Limbaugh from purchasing the St. Louis Rams. "I, myself, couldn't even consider voting for him," Irsay said at an NFL owners meeting. "When there are comments that have been made that are inappropriate, incendiary and insensitive... our words do damage, and it's something we don't need." Irsay has made political contributions to John Edwards and Harry Reid.
- Forbes: The World's Billionaires - James Irsay March 2013
- O'Neill, John R. (1997-01-15). "Robert Irsay obituary". .indystar.com. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- "Now You See Him, Now You Don't". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com.
- "The Colts' Jewish roots - Israel Culture, Ynetnews". Ynetnews.com. 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- "Mother of Colts owner dies at age 87". Usatoday.Com. 2008-07-12. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
- Jon, Anderson. "JIM IRSAY". Retrieved 2011-07-28.
- "Colts owner says he's against Rush Limbaugh buying Rams - latimes.com". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
|Indianapolis Colts principal owner