Billy Joe “Red” McCombs, a lifelong Texan industrialist and the previous owner of two NBA teams and an NFL club, passed away on Monday at his residence in San Antonio, according to a statement released by his family.
Charline McCombs died in 2019 at the age of 95, and McCombs followed her in mortality.
The McCombs family released a statement on Sunday, calling Red McCombs “a Texas icon” and saying, “The entire McCombs family is heartbroken to report that our father, grandpa, and great-grandfather, Red McCombs, passed away on Sunday, February 19, 2023.”
The statement remembered Red as “a creative businesswoman who touched many lives and influenced our community in infinite ways.” But to us, he was always and forever Papa or Poppop first and foremost.
According to the McCombs Enterprises website, he amassed more than 400 companies during his tenure, and the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin bears his name in honour of his success in the business world.
He has twice been the proprietor of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, as well as the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings in between those two tenure. The Vikings released a statement in which they thanked McCombs and offered their sympathies to his family.
After selling his stake in the club, “Red exemplified his famed ‘Purple Pride’ phrase and stayed a staunch Vikings supporter,” the statement reads.
It was stated that “while Red had an obvious passion for sports, what he adored most were his daughters and grandkids.”
Additionally, McCombs was instrumental in bringing Formula One racing back to the United States. He was a major backer of Austin, Texas’s Circuit of the Americas, the first American circuit designed specifically for Formula One competition and site of the U.S. Grand Prix since 2012.
With the help of the Texas track and the annual grand prix, the international racing series was able to make major inroads in the United States. In 2023, the United States will host three Formula One races: in Austin, Miami, and the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.
In the early 1950s, he started out as a car salesperson in Corpus Christi, Texas, and eventually moved on to found the San Antonio-based dealership company Red McCombs Automotive.
In the years that followed, he became involved in the oil and gas sector through the formation of McCombs Energy. He also managed several successful businesses in the areas of real estate, land development, and cattle ranching and breeding. In addition, he helped establish what is now known as iHeartCommunications, Inc. as a co-founder of Clear Channel Communications.
The proprietor of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, praised McCombs as “a real Texan giant across sports, media, business, and charity.”
Jones eulogised Red as the embodiment of a persistent and impassioned approach to life, relationships, and the community. “Red’s resolve, achievements, and optimistic attitude will live eternally,” Jones said.
McCombs is left by her three daughters, Lynda McCombs, Marsha Shields, and Connie McNab; her eight grandkids and eleven great-grandchildren.
There was no word on funeral arrangements.
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