From the barrage of losses and draws that continued to frustrate the 10,000+ fans the first season until well into the Fall Season to the game on October 11, 2014 versus Minnesota United that spawned one of the greatest moments in team history as fans rushed the field to celebrate the cathartic first home win with the players.There was the epic game in May 2015 versus the Rowdies that saw an early goal by Mares turn into a 2 hour and 3 minute rain delay, finishing with a desperation rocket from Kyle Hyland in the 97'+ to salvage a draw, despite having been up at least one man from the 73rd minute (the Rowdies would ultimately finish with 8 guys). That game would also serve as the final match for the team's first head coach, as Peter Wilt removed Juergen Sommer from his position just a couple days later. The Mike bore witness to the 16 game undefeated streak to start the 2016 campaign (& 11 game home undefeated streak dating back to the end of the 2015 season), which included the #MiracleAtTheMike as the Eleven scored an improbable four goals versus North Carolina to be able to wrap up the Spring championship and win their first piece of hardware. The Mike also had to watch the same teams repeatedly arrive at its doorstep as a depleted NASL struggled to stay afloat in 2017.
|Undated Model of the Stadium|
At the December 5, 1980 Board of Trustees of Indiana University meeting:
"3.B.(1); Track Stadium - Outdoor Activities Area, Indianapolis Campus.
Approval of the Board was requested to expand the previously approved Outdoor Activities Area project at the Indianapolis campus to include construction of a track stadium with a seating capacity of approximately 10,000 and an artificial track surface. Estimated at a cost of $3,836,780, the total project will be supported by $1,915,000 requested as part of the University's 1981-83 Capital Appropriations request and $1,921,780 in gifts to Indiana University.
Should the project cost exceed the $3,836,780 estimate, funds necessary to complete the project must be generated through additional gifts to the University.
Unanimously approved, on motion duly made and seconded."
|Excerpt from Athletic Facilities Brochure, 1982|
In fact, the architect of the stadium, Mark Peters of Browning, Day, Pollack, Mullins, Dierdorf Associates, Inc., explained in a fact sheet I received from the Archive's office why the "facility slopes upward from north to south, which permits the greatest number of seats to be concentrated at the south end where the finish line is located by saying":
“Other stadia are symmetrical because they are designed for sports other than just track and field. Football and soccer, for example. I wanted the greatest number of people as close as possible to the site of the climactic action of the event. This not only includes track but covers the javelin throw, the high jump, the shot put, and the hammer and discus throw.” Peters added that he was unaware of stadium like it in the world, and certainly none in the U.S. Indiana University architect Ray Casati agreed and added that asymmetrical shape “has given a lot of character to the form of the stadium.”
Track and Field Stadium Exterior, 1982
|Photo credit: Matt Schlotzhauer|
The stadium that the Eleven know as Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium hasn't always been known by that time. It wasn't until the Board of Trustees meeting on May 8, 1998 that Trustee Morris suggested renaming it after Michael Carroll.
"Trustee Morris said it was his pleasure to offer a motion to name the Indiana University track and field stadium in Indianapolis in honor and memory of Michael A. Carroll. Mike Carroll was an extraordinary person in many ways. One of the most universally respected individuals in the City of Indianapolis, the State of Indiana. A graduate of Indiana University, a Big Ten wrestler, and deeply loved in Bloomington, he was incredibly involved in the development of the IUPUI campus for many years, served as the founding president of the Metro Athletic Association for IUPUI. He was one of those unusual individuals who not only had a vision and an appreciation and an affection for what he was all about, but he was a worker. He helped IUPUI in a variety of ways. He served as deputy mayor of Indianapolis, as vice president of the Lilly Endowment, and he was a long-time member of the staff of Senator Dick Lugar. There is no more appropriate way to honor all that he contributed in his memory then to dedicate the IU track stadium in his honor. He was an exceptional person. Dear friend.
Unanimously approved on motion duly made and seconded."The man for whom the stadium was renamed was "vice president for community affairs at the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis, a former Deputy Mayor who was once a special assistant to Senator Richard Lugar and to Dan Quayle when he served in the Senate" and the stadium was renamed in his memory because he was killed in a plane crash on September 11, 1992. Also riding on the plane were Frank McKinney (an Olympic medalist in swimming), John Weliever (former director of Indiana's lottery and of the state's Department of Administration), and Bob Welch (White River State Park Commission executive director), all who "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.an annual award "is given in memory of former deputy mayor and civic leader Mike Carroll and honors a man or woman who has demonstrated Mike's qualities of determination, humility, and devotion to the central Indiana community." Former winners of the award include Tom Binford (former Indianapolis 500 Chief Steward and co-founder of the Indianapolis Urban League), Gene Glick (noted Indiana developer and philanthropist), Yvonne Shaheen, Ted Boehm, Katie Betley, Bob Bowen, and most recently, Jeff Smulyan (founder and CEO of Emmis Communications).
“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.”
From that first track event in July 1982 and its first Indiana High School Soccer State Championship game in October of that year to the nearly 70 Indy Eleven games the past four seasons, Carroll Stadium has seen some very significant sporting events throughout the years. "The facility has hosted the track and field events of the 1987 Pan American Games, 2001 World Police and Fire Games, several USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and NCAA Championships, as well as the 1988 US Olympic Trials where Florence Griffith-Joyner set the women's 100 metres world record of 10.49 that stands to this day." Carroll Stadium has even hosted a U.S. Open Cup final in 1997 between the Dallas Burn and D.C. United, as 9,766 fans watched the Burn win in penalties. On the field that day were players like Jason Kreis and Marco Etcheverry. Michael Carroll and his contemporaries envisioned an "amateur sports capital of the world" and the Indy Eleven, while professional, have attempted to continue that goal by bringing world-class athletes to Indianapolis. Kleberson and Torrado, Nicht and Busch. Zayed and Falvey. Ring, Smart, & Mares. These are just a handful of the guys who have brought the world's game to Indianapolis and Carroll Stadium.
|Track and Field Construction, 1982|
|2012 IUPUI Master Plan|
"South of W. New York Street
To create visual connectivity to the riverfront park, it is recommended that the Michael A. Carroll Stadium grand stands be removed. The track will remain and be improved as part of the active recreational portion of the park."When I posed the question to the University Architect's Office about whether the pre-Indy Eleven plan for Carroll Stadium would revert back now that they won't be using it, I was told that it remains to be seen. Demolishing a grand stand requires money and the demolition is not on the forefront of any conversations about upcoming or future projects. I believe that if the Eleven do not return to Carroll Stadium, the IUPUI men's and women's soccer teams would be the only routine occupant of the stadium, and their attendance draw does not require a grand stand the size of the main stand. Though I can see the new suites being a nice addition for IUPUI soccer fans.
|Lucas Oil Stadium cross-section|
|Google Earth screen capture|
The Indy Eleven may have temporarily kept Carroll Stadium from demolition and may one day find itself playing there again. With the changes affecting the team in 2018, the stadium is the one that seems the least clear about what the future holds. If the team never makes its way back to Carroll Stadium, I think it's served the team as well as can be expected of a stadium built in the early 80s and ideally designed with track and field events in mind.
It may not be much, but it was the starter home for the BYB and like a lot of people's starter homes will always hold a place in our hearts.
Thanks for the memories Carroll Stadium.