SAN ANTONIO — A prominent San Antonio businessman and philanthropist, Red McCombs, has died—and the South Texas community spent much of Monday paying tribute to a man who helped pave the way to the city's future.
The billionaire played a key role in bringing the Spurs to San Antonio, and also put car keys in thousands of drivers' hands through his various dealerships. But leaders say McCombs also helped put the Alamo City in the national spotlight.
Recently retired Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he admired McCombs’ business acumen and philanthropy. Although the two didn't always agree, he says, they did a lot of work together.
"He was a bigger-than-life kind of guy,” Wolff said.
McCombs died Sunday surrounded by his loved ones, according to a statement from his family. His success as a car salesman led him from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, where he and other businessmen brought the Spurs to town.
Wolff remembers where he was during the Spurs' beginnings.
“It was around 1973 when I was in the Senate, that’s when he and DeRosso purchased the Dallas Mavericks, brought them to San Antonio and of course basketball wasn’t a big thing then,” he recalled.
Jenny Carnes, CEO of San Antonio Sports, says McCombs also helped grow the game of basketball at a younger level.
“If you just look at the impact that he’s had on the power of sport in San Antonio and in philanthropy and in so many other ways, it’s just been incredible.”
Other leaders described McCombs in their own way. Mayor Ron Nirenberg called him "a titan of our local economy." Gregg Popovich said he was "a Texas legend." Former Congressman Will Hurd remarked that his interactions with McCombs "are treasures now."
McCombs was a big contributor to San Antonio Sports and also to UT Austin and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
He’s survived by his three daughters, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
>TRENDING ON KENS 5 YOUTUBE: