Former San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs dies at 95 with the NFL franchise leading the tributes to Texas billionaire
McCombs passed away Sunday according to a family statement. He bought the Vikings for $250million in 1998 before selling to the current owners, the Wilf brothers, for $600m in 2005.
‘The Minnesota Vikings are saddened by the passing of former team owner Red McCombs,’ the Vikings said in a statement.
‘Red embodied his famous ‘Purple Pride’ phrase and remained a staunch Vikings fan after passing the torch to the Wilf family in 2005… We will be forever grateful for Red and Charline’s contributions to the Vikings.’
Charline McCombs, Red’s wife, passed away in December 2019.
Billy Joe ‘Red’ McCombs passed away Sunday aged 95, according to a family statement
Under McCombs’ ownership the Vikings went to two NFC Championship games.
McCombs was part of a group of businessmen who moved the ABA’s Dallas Chaparrals to San Antonio in 1973 and named them the Spurs.
He was instrumental in getting the Spurs into the NBA as part of the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.
In 1993, he sold the south-central Texas franchise for $75m. McCombs bought the Denver Nuggets in 1982 before selling the franchise in 1985.
He divested his stake in the Spurs during that time before reinvesting in the Spurs afterward.
McCombs founded the eponymous Automotive Group and is the namesake of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, his alma mater.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones paid tribute, saying: ‘Our hearts and prayers are with the McCombs family upon Red’s passing.
‘A true Texas titan across sports, media, business and philanthropy, he followed his dreams and impacted countless others along the journey of his amazing life.
‘He was an inspiration to me, and Red’s interest in sports was a great attraction as a friend.
‘I respected the way he valued loyalty and had a deep appreciation for everything it took to put a team together.
‘Red’s determination, accomplishments and positive spirit will live forever as he embodied a relentless and passionate approach to life, relationships and community.’
McCombs was incredibly generous with regard to donations to his alma mater, UT Austin
While owning San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets, he owned Vikings between 1998-2005