Host of lead­ers in South Carolina show ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Bob Mcnair

The State (Sunday) - - Local - BY DAVID TRAVIS BLAND tb­[email protected]­tate.com

An out­pour­ing of praise came for Bob Mcnair, the 1958 Univer­sity of South Carolina grad­u­ate and Hous­ton Tex­ans owner, af­ter the an­nounce­ment of his death at age 81 on Fri­day.

Prom­i­nent South Carolini­ans and state lead­ers of­fered up their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Mcnair.

For­mer gov­er­nor and U.S. Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley said she was sorry to hear of the Mcnair’s pass­ing and re­mem­bered him for be­ing one of the first donors to as­sist South Carolina fol­low­ing the his­toric 2015 flood.

Mcnair was “a kind and gen­er­ous man,” Ha­ley said.

Lead­ers at USC also of­fered up words of praise for the school alum­nus turned NFL owner.

In a state­ment, USC Pres­i­dent Har­ris Pastides said Mcnair “was a gi­ant, even among very great per­sons.”

Pastides re­mem­bered stu­dents be­ing in­flu­enced by Mcnair, one young scholar say­ing the busi­ness man and phi­lan­thropist made the stu­dent want to “‘stand taller, work harder, and serve more peo­ple.’ ”

The USC pres­i­dent re­mem­bered Mcnair, who grew up in North Carolina,

for the scholarship pro­gram that bore his name, which helped to bring out-of-state stu­dents to USC.

“Here at Carolina, his alma mater stands in salute to a man who gave back more than he took away, and to a man that led a full and large life,” Pastides said. “He ben­e­fited from life’s boun­ties and shared his re­sources with oth­ers. But the great­est gift he gave was the ex­am­ple of a life lived with in­tegrity, com­pas­sion and love of fam­ily and coun­try.”

In 2017, Mcnair gave USC $5 mil­lion to help fund the school’s foot­ball op­er­a­tions build­ing. The Mcnair fam­ily gave $25 mil­lion in to­tal to USC, WACH re­ported.

USC Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Ray Tan­ner also mourned Mcnair’s pass­ing, say­ing “To­day we lost our friend and a great Alum­nus . ... Our Game­cock Fam­ily sends con­do­lences to Mrs. Mcnair and their en­tire fam­ily.”

Bob and Jan­ice Mcnair, his wife, also con­trib­uted to Columbia Col­lege, giv­ing $5 mil­lion in 2015 to pay for the cre­ation of the Mcnair Cen­ter for En­trepreneurism. The Mcnairs also con­trib­uted to other pro­grams and build­ings at Columbia Col­lege, the school said in a so­cial me­dia post. A build­ing on the col­lege’s cam­pus was named af­ter the Mcnair fam­ily. Jan­ice Mcnair grad­u­ated Columbia Col­lege in 1959. The school called the Mcnairs “gen­er­ous sup­port­ers.”

“Hun­dreds of stu­dents at Columbia Col­lege have had their ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence en­hanced thanks to the Mcnairs,” Columbia Col­lege said over so­cial me­dia. “We are for­ever grate­ful.”

It wasn’t all praise for Mcnair. Many peo­ple re­mem­bered and con­demned him for say­ing “we can’t have the in­mates run­ning the prison” when speak­ing about NFL own­ers let­ting play­ers kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them.

DJ Reader, a for­mer Clem­son foot­ball player now with the Tex­ans, gave a per­sonal tes­ti­mony to Mcnair on so­cial me­dia.

“May my prayers be with the Mcnair fam­ily,” Reader said. “I will for­ever be grate­ful to Mr. Bob Mcnair for giv­ing me a chance to live my life long dream. A true leg­end.”

THOMAS SHEA USA TO­DAY

Hous­ton Tex­ans owner Bob Mcnair died at age 81 on Fri­day. He grad­u­ated from South Carolina in 1958.

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