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A Man for all Seasons
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 • Posted February 7, 2013

HORSESHOE BAY—From his birth in Spur in 1927 to becoming one of the richest men in the world, Red McCombs has owned car dealerships, Clear Channel Communications, and, oh yes, three major-league sports teams. He addressed the Horseshoe Bay Sports Club, February 5.

“I like to be active, to be involved,” said McCombs. No exaggeration there. Wikipedia needed a six-line paragraph to tell about the Halls of Fame he’s entered and numerous other awards.

“I owned a Class-B baseball team many years ago,” he advised, “and I had just as much fun with that as I had with the NBA. The thrill is just the same.”

Spurred on

In 1972, McCombs and others leased the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association, moved them to San Antonio, and changed the name to the Spurs.

“Rudy Davalos was an assistant coach at the time,” McCombs pointed out. Davalos is now president of the HB Sports Club, and he introduced Red. “I came here for Rudy,” the guest said. “Why else would I get up at 5:30 a.m. and spend $6,000 on an airplane?”

McCombs and fellow owners got the Spurs into the NBA, as the ABA folded. Red didn’t stay with them much longer but would later own the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Vikings. What McCombs helped begin in San Antonio is now a four-time NBA champion.

Athletics

“It’s the most cohesive element in a community. Nothing else gets so much support. We may have differences in education, the Arts, medicine, and religion, but not in sports—the team belongs to all.

World’s Fair

Red McCombs was having trouble with Lee Iacocca of Ford Motor Company getting the big name behind the Fair, which was held in San Antonio in 1968.

“I called him and said I was sorry to have bothered him.” Iacocca, one of the main men behind the Ford Mustang in the 1960s, and later a legend at Chrysler, said, “That’s okay.”

McCombs then dropped this line: “LBJ will explain to you the importance of the Fair.”

The conversation was over. Governor John Connally and President Johnson used their “good-sized” influence to get Iacocca on board, or, maybe in the front seat.

Name Game

If he’s not called Red, he’s called Billy Joe.

He’s the namesake of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, and the softball field is named after him.

Dollar Billy

The San Antonio Express-News claims McCombs’ net worth is $1.4 billion. He’s the 913th richest man in the world.

Formula One

According to Wikipedia, Red McCombs provided financial backing for the F1 track in Austin in 2010. “I knew nothing about the sport,” he acknowledged, “but the TV audience for those races is much larger than the Super Bowl.”

The crowds aren’t too bad, either. In the inaugural race in November, the Austin venue drew 117,000.

Rudy

Rudy Davalos said in his introduction, “Red McCombs gets behind everything worthwhile.” Davalos continued with accolades, and added: “I could go on and on.”

Red responded: “Go on.”

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