The word “retirement” isn’t in Billy Joe “Red” McCombs’s vocabulary. The 82-year-old businessman, whose entrepreneurial ventures have ranged from owning car dealerships and the San Antonio Spurs to co-founding media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications, typically works sixty hours a week, Monday through Saturday, at his office in San Antonio. “I’ve been high-energy since the day I was born,” says McCombs. One thing that remains static, however, is lunch. Always present in his mini-fridge are cheddar cheese, salad dressing, and a block of bologna, which he slices thick to wrap in iceberg lettuce. “I’m low-carb,” says McCombs. He eats in his office three or four times a week, surrounded by family photos and the sounds of Hank Williams or Julio Iglesias on his CD player.

On the Counter

• I love peanut butter on apples.

• I’ve got eight grandkids. These (pictured on the mug) are three of them, and they live here in San Antonio.

On the Shelves

• I get block bologna from H-E-B. Just about everything comes from there.

• I’m a pickle freak. These are from a friend in Kansas. I give jars of them as gifts.

• This drives my wife, Charline, nuts. I unwrap cheddar cheese from the plastic and wrap it in paper towels to keep it in the fridge. She wouldn’t let me in the house if I did this at home.

• These beef ribs from Barbed Wire are very good. You can’t get beef ribs many places.

• This barbecue sauce is made by the guy who used to be the office doorman. I like the tartness of his sauce, but I won’t use it if I’ve already put on my famous meat rub, Red’s Rub.

In the Door

• I’m a “streak drinker.” I’ll get on a Coke Zero streak and drink it for three weeks straight. Then I’ll move on to Diet Dr Pepper and only drink that for a while.

• If I’m not eating a bologna wrap, I put these bacon bits—real bacon bits—on top of lettuce with salad dressing. Then I just eat the bologna in hunks on the side.


To learn more about Red McCombs, his philanthropic and business ventures, and the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, visit

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