James “Jamey” Rootes, a West University resident who served for nearly two decades as president of the Houston Texans, died Sunday at the age of 56.
His wife, Melissa, said in a statement that he had been battling mental health issues, and gave out the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255. He is also survived by his children, Chris and Caroline.
Rootes had helped launch Major League Soccer before leading the Texans from 2002-2021. In April, he had joined the sports management department at Rice University, having been affiliated earlier with the University of Houston and Sam Houston University. He was a respected, highly honored business and community leader in Houston, most recently spearheading Hurricane Harvey and COVID relief partnerships.
Texans owner Janice McNair praised Rootes’ “unwavering commitment to Houston and the Houston Texans” and his “steadfast leadership and immeasurable contributions” to the team.
A popular speaker, Rootes also authored a best-selling book in 2020. The Winning Game Plan highlighted successful team building strategies from sports that could be applied to business management.
According to his website, JameyRootes.com, the Georgia native was a cum laude graduate of the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University, where he was student body president and a member of the university’s soccer team that capture two NCAA titles. He also earned an MBA with honors from Indiana University and served as an assistant soccer coach there.
Before entering sports management, Rootes worked for IBM and Procter & Gamble.
His wife said details would be announced for a later celebration of his life.