Red McCombs, generous donor to The Paisano Educational Trust, passes away at 95

Gauri Raje, News Editor

San Antonio businessman and philanthropist Billy Joe “Red” McCombs, a generous donor to The Paisano Educational Trust, passed away at the age of 95 at his home, according to a statement from his family.

The entire McCombs Family is heartbroken to announce that our father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Red McCombs, passed away on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023. As he drew his last breath peacefully at home, he was surrounded by family that loved and adored him,” the statement read.

As a businessman, McCombs owned 50 car dealerships under the Red McCombs Automotive Group at one point, the Texas Tribune reports. He also owned the Minnesota Vikings, an NFL team, and the Denver Nuggets, an NBA team. Furthermore, he owned the Spurs basketball team at two different times and is credited with bringing the franchise to San Antonio.

He founded the Clear Channel Communications, now known as iHeartMedia and headquartered in San Antonio, with Lowry Mays in 1972

McCombs was also known for his philanthropic efforts. He donated $50 million to UT Austin in 2000, prompting the university to name its business school after him. In 2005, McCombs and his foundation donated $30 million to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

McCombs was a supporter of college journalism.  He was one of the early major donors to the capital campaign to build The Paisano Media Arts Center, the 3,000-square-foot building where The Paisano is produced. He cut the ribbon to open the building in 2014 and made an additional 4-year donation to support The Paisano’s mission to educate future professional writers and entrepreneurs. The Paisano’s newsroom is named in honor of the Red and Charline McCombs Family Foundation.