Louisville City just issued a press release from Amanda Duffy regarding a change in board leadership at the club. John Neace, one of the club’s original investors from 2014 when the club began front office operations, has been named chairman and operating manager by the club’s Board of Managers. He, of course, will replace Wayne Estopinal in those roles. The Board reportedly asked Wayne to step down in early August.
Wayne served as club ownership’s public face since before the club even existed. There is no dispute that without Wayne, there probably would not be a Louisville City FC. I’ve met Wayne several times and worked with him back when the Coopers first started to make our dream of professional soccer in Louisville a reality. The man is tireless, passionate, and demanding. Fans with reservations about whether or not taking the chair position away from Wayne are not without foundations for those fears.
That said, at this point it’s water under the bridge. Let’s see what we know about John Neace:
- The club’s press release makes it clear that the reason he was named as Wayne’s replacement is because he will be able to focus a lot of time and energy on the stadium project. Obviously the stadium is a matter of vital importance to this club, and if John Neace can devote substantially more time and effort to that project, then this is probably a good move. Let’s not forget Wayne has a full-time job running an architecture firm, and has several other concerns in the Louisville area as well.
- He’s from Newport, Kentucky originally.
- He has a silver Corvette.
- He owns or manages part or all of at least 33 companies registered to do business in Kentucky alone. He’s probably best known as one of the founders and partners of Neace Lukens insurance agency, until Assured Partners bought the company in 2011. Chances are good that sale freed up a lot of John’s time, as he reportedly had a very active role in that company before it was sold.
- He owns Falls City Brewing Co. Check mark in his favor, IMO.
- I’m pretty sure he lives in or near New Albany.
I’ve never actually met the guy, and maybe never will. That said, he’s obviously been successful in business and is reputed to be a strong relationship builder, something we’ll need to get the stadium off (or on) the ground. I wish him the best of luck.