Louisville City FC founder Wayne Estopinal dies in plane crash
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Wayne Estopinal, who founded the Louisville City FC soccer team, died Friday when his private jet crashed shortly after leaving a Clark County, Ind., airport.
Estopinal, a prominent architect who also held an ownership stake in Orlando's Major League Soccer franchise, was 63.
"We would not be the club we are today without his innovation, leadership, and hard work, and his contributions to the community are something for which we are incredibly grateful," Brad Estes, Louisville City's president, said in a statement.
Officials at Ball State University, where Estopinal was a 1979 graduate and Board of Trustee member, confirmed he died in the plane crash.
"He was an exceptional leader and passionate supporter of the University."
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that a Cessna jet flying from Clark Regional Airport to Chicago Midway Airport crashed after disappearing from air traffic radar.
Three people died when the plane crashed not long after taking off at 11:24 am. The other two victims of the crash haven't been identified.
The plane crashed in a wooded area and left a trail of debris, according to law enforcement and WDRB News' Sky Cam.
"All in our community are saddened by the tragic loss of Wayne Estopinal," Greater Louisville Inc. president and CEO Kent Oyler said. "Wayne was a successful business leader, an engaged citizen, and a longtime member of the GLI family. We express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of Wayne and all of those lost in today’s crash.”
Estopinal was an original investor and founder of the Louisville City FC soccer team. His interest in the team was later purchased by investors in the club’s current ownership group.
He was president of Jeffersonville-based TEG Architects. Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said Estopinal "loved Jeffersonville, and because of that, we are better off."
"We are extremely saddened to learn of the untimely death of Wayne Estopinal. This is a terrible tragedy for our city and community. Wayne was a lifelong Jeffersonville resident and successful business owner. His firm, TEG Architects, was an international architecture firm located on Spring Street.
Wayne was huge supporter of Jeffersonville, his hometown. While Wayne’s creativity was felt well beyond Jeffersonville, his desire and tenacity to make our city better is what we will remember him for the most. Whether it was his restoration of City Hall at the historic Quartermaster Depot, the award-winning design of Big Four Station or his recent champion of a new downtown elementary school, Wayne’s impact will never be forgotten.
We should never forget that Wayne cared deeply about giving back to his hometown. He never lost sight of his roots. He loved Jeffersonville, and because of that, we are better off.
Please keep the Estopinal family, his employees, and the other victims involved in this crash in your thoughts and prayers."
Estopinal is also a founding owner of the Orlando City Soccer Club, which plays in Major League Soccer.
"He will be deeply missed, but his impact on the Orlando City organization and American soccer will be felt for years to come," Orlando City said in a statement.
Among other projects, his firm designed Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium, where the University of Louisville men’s soccer team plays.
"Wayne Estopinal was a strong, innovative business leader known for dynamic building design and his tremendous vision that helped to bring professional soccer to Louisville, and by helping it succeed. I'm deeply saddened to hear of his passing," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Travis Kircher, Marcus Green and Jason Riley contributed to this report. Copyright 2018 WDRB News All rights reserved.