Billy Joe “Red” McCombs, former owner of two NBA teams, an NFL franchise and longtime Texas businessman, died at his home in San Antonio, according to a statement from his family Monday.
McCombs was 95 years old and his wife, Charlene, preceded him in 2019.
According to the statement, which called McCombs “one of the symbols of Texas,” “the entire McCombs family is saddened to announce the passing away of Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, Reed McCombs on Sunday, February 19, 2023.”
“Reed was a visionary entrepreneur who touched many lives and impacted our community in immeasurable ways,” the statement said. “But for us it was always, first and foremost, ‘dad’ or ‘bobop.'”
McCombs owned more than 400 companies during his lifetime, according to McCombs Enterprises website, The McCombs College of Business at the University of Texas at Austin is named after him.
He has twice owned the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, and between those two ownership stints, he owned the league’s Denver Nuggets and later the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
In a statement, the Vikings expressed their gratitude to McCombs and their condolences to his family.
“Red personified the catchphrase ‘Purple Pride’ and remained a huge fan of the Vikings after selling his ownership of the team,” the statement read.
“While Reid clearly had a passion for the sport, it was clear that what he loved most were his children and grandchildren,” the statement read.
McCombs also played a huge role in the return of Formula 1 to the United States. He was one of the largest investors in the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, the first purpose-built F1 racetrack in the US and host of the US Grand Prix since 2012.
The Texas circuit and the annual Grand Prix have been central to the global racing series’ efforts to establish and grow a significant presence in the US Formula 1 Championship that will race three times in the country in 2023, at Austin, Miami and debuting at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
He started as a car salesman in the early 1950s in Corpus Christi, Texas, and later founded Red McCombs Automotive, a group of dealerships in San Antonio.
He subsequently founded McCombs Energy, an oil and gas industry company, and managed real estate and land development companies, ranches and breeding operations. He was also a co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, which later became iHeartCommunications, Inc.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called McCombs an inspiration and “a true Texan giant across sports, media, business and philanthropy”.
“Red’s determination, achievement and positive spirit will live on forever as he embodied an uncompromising and passionate approach to life, relationships and community,” said Jones.
McCombs is survived by daughters Linda McCombs, Marsha Shields and Connie McNab, as well as eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services have not been announced.
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