In an interview on Tuesday with ESPN 1250 in San Antonio McCombs said "I think the whole thing is a bit sideways. I don't have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.
"But I don't believe [he belongs at] what should be one of the three most powerful university programs in the world right now at UT-Austin. I don't think it adds up."
He also called it a "kick in the face."
Thursday, he apologized. From the San Antonio Express-News:
Thursday, McCombs said he apologized to Strong and “to anyone that might have been offended by anything I said or did.”
“My interest is in Longhorn athletics, and in the University of Texas,” said McCombs, who’s donated more than $100 million to the school. “My interest was to see that we hire one of the best three coaches in the United States.”
McCombs said he regretted making the “kick in the face” and the “position coach” statements, saying he didn’t intend either to be a personal criticism of Strong. He said Strong told him during their phone conversation that an apology wasn’t necessary.
“He wanted my help and my support,” McCombs said. “I told him I’d be happy to do it.”
Strong was on the Paul Finebaum show Thursday afternoon and said that he had a "great" discussion with McCombs. McCombs has donated over $100 million to the school and in addition to owning the Vikings, he has previously owned the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets. He sold the Vikings in 2005 to Zygi Wilf and was also a prominent supporter of the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 track in Austin, Texas.
Finebaum asked Strong if he felt that McCombs' comments were racial in any way. In his interview with the Express News, McCombs said that he was bothered by the idea that his comments had racial implications.
"No I didn’t Paul," Strong said (via the Dallas Morning News). "It’s so funny that we speak about Red. Probably a couple hours ago I got off the phone with him and we spoke. We had a really great conversation and I told him “You’ve done a lot for this university. And I want you around. I want you to be a part of this program and I want you to support this program.” Cause I said “We need you. We need everyone. We need to band together and become that family we are because this is the Longhorn family and I want you a part of it.”
Throughout the Texas coaching search, influential boosters were split on candidates. According to Orangebloods, McCombs wanted ESPN analyst John Gruden to be the next coach of the Longhorns. Mack Brown resigned after the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30 after 16 years as coach.
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- Charlie Strong
- Red McCombs