Red will be the first to tell you that he’s a “deal junkie,” meaning he loves to buy, and occasionally sell, businesses. He looks for businesses that have operational or management inefficiencies, where he can step in and make an immediate impact, often saving companies that would otherwise collapse. Even beyond that, he’s an entrepreneur, having created businesses that then grow into market-leading companies.
McCombs Enterprises, located in San Antonio, operates as the family office and headquarters for all of Red’s business activities. Red has owned and operated businesses in nearly every industry, but it all started with automotive. His career began in 1950, and since then he has owned and represented almost every brand of vehicle.
Soon after, Red joined the energy industry, creating what would later become McCombs Energy in a handshake deal. Red continued to build his Texan legacy by expanding into ranching and cattle breeding, being the first to ever syndicate a Texas Longhorn bull for more than $1 million. Similarly, real estate is another major venture of Red’s, including single and multi-family residential, commercial, and other land development. He also co-founded Clear Channel Communications, which he built into the largest radio and advertising media company in the world when it began trading in the public stock market.
Beyond all that has already been mentioned, he’s most widely known as a sports team owner and philanthropist. Red helped put San Antonio on the map by bringing professional sports to town, owning the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs two separate times. In between, he owned the Denver Nuggets. More recently, Red owned the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. Red, his family, and the McCombs Foundation have made gifts well surpassing $135 million, including major gifts to the business college at The University of Texas at Austin, now bearing Red’s name, as well as to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Red's wife of 69 years, Charline, passed away on December 12, 2019. A Texas icon in her own right, Charline leaves behind an unsurpassed legacy of loving her family and anyone she met. She was the real leader of the family, and certainly the heart.
Red's life stories (and there are many) have been captured in two different autobiographies which can be purchased here.