After 33 years of managing affairs at Lucas Oil Stadium and its predecessor, the Hoosier Dome, Mike Fox has left the building.
Fox worked his last day as stadium director at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 3 before departing to become senior director of facilities for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He begins his new job Monday, though Speedway President Doug Boles said Fox has already done a walk-through of the facility.
“Mike has been here since 1984—that’s crazy,” said Barney Levengood, executive director of the Capital Improvement Board, which oversees Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center. “He’s been here through so much. The Pan Am Games, seven [NCAA] Final Fours, a Super Bowl. It would take a half an hour to get through his career.”
Levengood told CIB members Friday morning that a search for Fox’s replacement has already begun, but added, “he will be hard to replace.”
As director of Lucas Oil Stadium, Fox was the main operations point person for the 67,000-seat venue, which hosts everything from football and basketball games to monster truck shows, concerts and conventions.
The NFL Scouting Combine wrapped up at the stadium earlier this week. The stadium's schedule is a hectic one in the upcoming months, Levengood noted.
“We’re all going to pitch in to get through this,” Levengood said. “It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll get it done. We’ll be fine.”
Indianapolis Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward said Fox “will be missed.”
“He’s done a remarkable job. It’s amazing what he’s had to juggle over the years, with countless high-pressure situations and with having to deal with multiple personalities,” Ward said. “And he’s done it all with grace and class.”
But Ward added that "we are completely confident [CIB President] Melina Kennedy and Barney Levengood will provide a smooth transition."
NFL officials and the league’s corporate partners as well as national media members “still rave about the 2012 Super Bowl,” Ward said. “It’s still recognized as one of the very best Super Bowl presentations out of all of them, and Mike played a huge part in that."
Boles said he's eager to use some of Fox’s experience to enhance the Speedway’s presentation of events.
“We think Mike will bring a fresh set of eyes to this facility, and will have some great ideas and help us really execute in a better way,” Boles said.
Fox will be in charge of the “preparation and presentation of the facility,” Boles explained.
“He and his team will be responsible for setting the stage for everything that happens at the Speedway,” he said.
Those events of course include the Indianapolis 500 and Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May, but also the track’s annual NASCAR and airplane races, all pre- and post-race festivities as well as a growing list of non-racing events, including concerts.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am about Mike joining the staff here,” Boles told IBJ. “He’s ready to go and has a crazy good work ethic. He’s already been out here at the track multiple times even before his official start date, and I know he’s going to bring us some good ideas.”
One reason the Speedway was attracted to Fox, an Indiana University graduate, was his deep local roots.
“One of the most important things about Mike is he understands the community,” Boles said. “That’s an important part of this position.”
Fox replaces the Speedway’s previous facilities director, David Shaw, who departed in February to take a job as director of concessions and air services at the Indianapolis International Airport.
Fox could not be reached Friday morning for comment.