HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) — On the first line of Bob McNair’s Wikipedia page are the words “billionaire” and “philanthropist.”
Fitting, then, that the owner and founder of the Houston Texans was honored with the Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to the community.
“You are talking about one of the premier philanthropist – not only in the City of Houston or the state of Texas – but across the country,” said Texas Sports Hall of Fame CEO Allan Cooper Jones. “The impact on – not just this city – but across the United States the McNair family has is truly amazing.”
McNair, 80, brought football back to Houston in 1999, when the NFL approved an expansion team to replace the Houston Oilers. To do it, he paid a significant portion of the $700 million expansion fee, far and away more than the bill the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers footed just six years prior ($140 million).
But his impact on the city has gone beyond football, and includes charity, local leadership and even a boost economically.
“Everywhere you go, you see Bob and Janice McNair contributing to the community,” said chairman of Super Bowl LI Ric Campo. “Not only has he contributed to the cultural aspect and the quality of life to Texans, but he gives back times ten to the community from a philanthropic perspective – and that’s even bigger.”
Some details on the nature of the award, from a Texans release:
The Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award was established to honor an individual who has achieved special acclaim by being influential in enhancing Texas sports and Texas sports history. The criteria include having had, through the course of one’s life, a significant and positive impact on the landscape of Texas sports. The award is given by the Executive Committee of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Board of Trustees when they feel there is an individual who should be recognized for his/her contributions to Texas Sports history and whose vision and service in the world of sports have left a lasting legacy.
McNair is the sixth recipient of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame’s highest honor and the first from Houston. Previous honorees include Red McCombs (2006), Don Carter (2009), Drayton McLane (2014), Dave Campbell (2015) and Rudy Davalos (2016). Alongside bringing football back to the city of Houston, McNair led the city in hosting two Super Bowls, revived Houston’s collegiate bowl game in the Texas Bowl and hosted Copa America – just to name a few of his contributions to the Houston community.
Along with this honor, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame founded a permanent endowment, the McNair Endowment, to support education, scholastic research and community involvement in Houston, Waco and other communities across the state.
“You think back to a sports perspective, we are so appreciative to have professional football back in the city of Houston,” Jones said. “For all of us, we owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to them. You take a look at the impact the Texans have had on this city, especially this past year as difficult times happened, a leader in the community were the Texans.”