Red McCombs Blasts University of Texas Coaching Hire
$100 million dollars can buy a lot of things. In the case of Red McCombs, such a donation can spur administrators to name a business school after you. Despite being the namesake for the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, Red McCombs learned that there is one thing that $100 million can’t buy: Your hand-picked football coach.
This week, McCombs got his horns hooked in a controversy when he blasted Texas’ choice of Charlie Strong as head football coach. Despite Strong’s 37-15 record at Louisville (including a 23-3 record over the past two years), Red McCombs felt compelled to ruin the two-day grace period that fans traditionally give new coaches before ragging on them.
In an interview with ESPN 1250 in San Antonio, McCombs dismissed Strong as “a great position coach, maybe a coordinator,” before adding that he didn’t believe Strong belongs at “what should be one of the three most powerful university programs in the world right now at UT-Austin.”
Ouch! Now, we know why former coach Mack Brown always looked so haggard.
Of course, Red McCombs, who publicly lobbied for mercurial broadcaster Jon Gruden to be coach, quickly tipped his hands on what really bothered him:
“I think it is a kick in the face. Beyond the fact of what actually happened. We have boosters that have a lot of knowledge about the game. When we decided to go get Mack (Brown) — from the time we decided to go get Mack to about 30 hours later to have a press conference here and it was done — we had a lot of input before we went after him.”
Ah, hell hath no fury than a booster scorned…especially one who has his statue inside Texas Memorial Stadium.
Alas, Red McCombs is no fantasy football-playing sports neophyte. He has owned the San Antonio Spurs (who’ve won four NBA championships since he sold them). And he owned the Minnesota Vikings from 1998-2006, where they reached an NFC Championship before being sunk by poor drafts, internal squabbles, and the infamous “love boat” scandal.
On Thursday, Red McCombs quickly backtracked from his statements. According to ESPN, McCombs has called Strong and pledged his “total support.” For his part, Strong told McCombs that “You’ve done a lot for this university. And I want you around.”
Ah, sounds like all is forgiven…until Texas loses to Iowa State in Austin this year. Let’s just pray Texas doesn’t drop in the U.S. News rankings this year (Hello, Gruden!).