Red McCombs was born in 1927 in Spur, Texas and attended Southwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin School of Business and School of Law. At 22, he began his career as a salesman in the automobile business in Corpus Christi in 1950. In 1958 he moved to San Antonio and led Red McCombs Automotive and its 60 dealerships to the sixth largest dealer group in the United States. Mr. McCombs has been in the energy business since the early 1960's and moved that business to Houston in 1965. McCombs Energy continues to grow and operates throughout the West and Southwest. Mr. McCombs has always been active in real estate development and sales, including numerous joint ventures, the largest of which is the Koontz-McCombs development company with over a billion dollars in developed projects. In 1972, Mr. McCombs and business partner Lowry Mays founded Clear Channel Communications by purchasing one radio station in San Antonio and grew the company to be the largest in the world in numbers of radio stations and numbers of outdoor billboards.
Mr. McCombs has always served in leadership roles in many national, state and local organizations. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern University where he has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus. He has also served as Chairman of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Mr. McCombs has chaired many fund drives and community service organizations. He was honored by the University of Texas at Austin as a Distinguished Alumnus and has also been the recipient of their President's Award. The University also honored him by renaming their nationally acclaimed business school the Red McCombs School of Business. Mr. McCombs has been honored and recognized by many organizations including the San Antonio Business Hall of Fame, The San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame, The Texas Business Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame's Gold Medal Award in 2001.
He has also been honored by the American Academy of Achievement, received the Corporate Citizenship Award from The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Texas Legend Award from the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. Mr. McCombs also received the Living Legend award as Texan of the Year. He has received honorary PhD's from The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas Lutheran University and Southwestern University.
Mr. McCombs formerly owned the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, where he received the NFL Owner of the Year award during his second year in the league. He has also owned the NBA's Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs, which he secured for San Antonio in 1973. At age 25, he purchased his first professional sports team, The Corpus Christi Texas Clippers in the Big State Baseball League. There is also now a statue of Mr. McCombs at the north entrance to Darrell Royal Memorial Football Stadium at the University of Texas that was dedicated in August 2010.
Mr. McCombs' daughter, Marsha Shields, was named Chairperson of all McCombs Enterprises activities in 2003 and works alongside Mr. McCombs who still maintains his lifelong 60 hour work week providing creative direction, expertise and daily oversight of all McCombs operations.
Mr. McCombs married the former Charline Hamblin in Corpus Christi in 1950. Their daughters Lynda McCombs, Marsha Shields and Connie McNab, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren all reside in San Antonio.