STATEHOUSE—State Representatives Dick Dodge (R-Pleasant Lake) and David Yarde (R-Garrett) honored Angola resident, Paul Oakes, with a resolution at the Statehouse for his efforts in bringing the Colts to Indianapolis.
In 1977, Oakes was serving as the chairman of the Stadium Commission and was tasked with bringing a National Football League team to Indianapolis. Oakes, who had made many cold calls as an insurance salesman, contacted Colts owner Robert Irsay to see if there was any interest in moving the team from Baltimore to Indianapolis.
“Paul Oakes’ determination and perseverance in bringing a professional team such as the Colts to Indiana forever changed the way Hoosiers feel about sports,” said Rep. Dodge. “It was important for Paul to come down to the Statehouse from Angola and receive a resolution in his honor, and I was proud to be the one to present it to him.”
The move of the Colts to Indianapolis began with Oakes’ initial contact with Irsay, and started an effort to bring the Colts to our state’s capitol. Oakes, along with Mayor William Hudnut, Frank McKinney, Jr., chairman of a major Indianapolis bank and Jim Morris, vice president of Lily Endowment, traveled to Skokie, Illinois to meet with Irsay.
“Over 50 years ago, Paul Oakes had a vision for Indianapolis. Today we honor the man, Paul Oakes, who served as a catalyst for the Colt’s historic move to Indianapolis,” said Rep. Yarde. “Without his initial efforts I don’t know where Indianapolis be with its professional teams. Paul has been long overdue for his recognition.
The Colts’ move to Indianapolis did not happen until 1984, but it was the original effort of Oakes that made it possible.
“It is because of Oakes’ effort that Hoosiers have such an exceptional sports team to rally around,” said Rep. Dodge. “His initial determination to bring the Colts to Indiana deserves to be honored because it has forever changed our state for the better.”
“The Colts have become a huge part of Indiana,” said Rep. Yarde. “ They have changed how the state looks at football and the ripple effects of that were just recently seen with the success of Indiana hosting the Super Bowl. I am grateful to recognize Paul Oakes’ contribution to our state and the successes he has reached.”
Governor Daniels describes Oakes as “the perfect example of the public citizen who accomplishes great things for his town, city, or state without holding office or seeking glory.”