A former owner of two NBA teams, an NFL franchise and longtime Texas businessman, Billy Joe “Red” McCombs, has died at his home in San Antonio, according to a statement from his family on Monday.
McCombs was 95 and was predeceased by his wife Charline in 2019.
“The entire McCombs family is devastated to announce that our father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Red McCombs, passed away on Sunday, February 19, 2023,” according to the statement, which called McCombs “a Texas icon.”
“Red was a visionary entrepreneur who touched many lives and impacted our community in immeasurable ways,” the statement said. “But to us he was always, first and foremost, ‘Daddy’ or ‘Poppop.’
McCombs owned more than 400 businesses during his lifetime, according to the McCombs Enterprises website, and the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin are named after him.
He twice owned the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, and between these two ownership periods he owned the league’s Denver Nuggets and later the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL.
In a statement, the Vikings expressed gratitude to McCombs and condolences to his family.
“Red embodied his famous ‘Purple Pride’ catchphrase and remained a staunch Vikings fan” after selling ownership of the team, according to the statement.
“While Red had a clear passion for sports, it was clear that what he loved most were his children and grandchildren,” the statement said.
McCombs also played a major role in Formula 1’s return 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 United States and host of the United States Grand Prix since 2012.
The Texas circuit and annual grand prix were central to the global racing series’ efforts to establish and grow a significant presence in the United States Formula 1 race three times in the country in 2023, in Austin and Miami and the debut of the Las Vegas Grand. Price.
He began as a car salesman in the early 1950s in Corpus Christi, Texas, and would later establish Red McCombs Automotive, a group of dealers in San Antonio.
He later established McCombs Energy, an oil and gas industry company, and ran real estate and land development companies, cattle ranches and breeding operations. He was also one of the founders of Clear Channel Communications, which later became iHeartCommunications, Inc.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called McCombs an inspiration and “a true Texas titan across sports, media, business and philanthropy.”
“Red’s determination, achievements and positive spirit will live on forever as he embodied a relentless and passionate approach to life, relationships and community,” Jones said.
McCombs is survived by daughters Lynda McCombs, Marsha Shields and Connie McNab, as well as eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were not announced.