Photo: Stevan Sheets / Flickr.com
In Indianapolis, September 11 was a day of tragedy long before 9/11. Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of a plane crash which killed four civic leaders.
Bank One CEO Frank McKinney, the Lilly Endowment‘s Michael Carroll former lottery director John Weliever and White River State Park Commission executive director Bob Welch were flying to Columbus, Ohio‘s, AmeriFlora flower show to gather ideas for the park when a midair collision killed them and two others.
Welch, McKinney and Carroll played key roles in Indiana‘s efforts to establish itself as a sports capital. Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm says Carroll played a critical role in staging the Pan Am games, which Boehm chaired.
“There was a tremendous amount of work that needed to be done to just liaison with all the different government entities that needed to be involved in the Pan Am Games,” Boehm says. “He was the perfect guy to facilitate that kind of complicated arrangement.”
McKinney, an Olympic medalist in swimming, helped bring the Amateur Athletic Union to Indianapolis, while Welch made the first, unsuccessful effort to lure an NFL team to the city. Weliever was Governor Evan Bayh‘s director of administration in addition to stepping in at the lottery.
Bayh remembers him as a voice of veteran business sense in a youthful administration.
“I was fortunate to have a lot of very bright and sometimes very young people around me when I was governor, because I was young myself,” Bayh says. “But John brought that hardnosed, real-world business experience to the table that really helped to leaven our discussions.”
The track and field stadium at IUPUI is named for Carroll. A memorial to all four men sits in White River State Park near the historic pumphouse.