Ira D. Combs, one of the most beloved people in the sports field Passed away Thursday March 19th, 2015 doing what he loved to do.Ira was on his way in to the Yum Center to get his media credentials when he collapsed and later died at a Louisville hospital. People across the state shared in the passing of Ira Combs as he was loved and respected throughout the state. Ira was a straight shooter and said what was on his mind. He did not sugar coat his articles nor did he have to make things up or sensationalize stories. He was one of the true “Old School” media people and those who had the chance to share time with Ira always walked away with a smile. On several occasions while sitting in U.K.’s media room, Ira would greet me and my brother Tim with, “there are them mountain boys.” A phrase that gave us both a smile. We would share stories about High School basketball, behind the scenes stuff going on with the Wildcats and a lot of time just listening to Ira tell stories from the good ole days. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart issued the following statement on the passing of legendary Kentucky sports figure Ira Combs:
“All of us at UK Athletics are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ira Combs. Ira, a fixture at UK Athletics events for decades, loved this state and its people as much as anyone. Ira’s dedication and hard work in covering high school and collegiate sports in Kentucky were obvious, but his kindness towards the people he came into contact with and worked with will be what we will remember him for the most. Our prayers and thoughts are with Ira and the Combs family.”
WYMT, a local news station that often carried Ira Combs released the following article:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – Eastern Kentucky student-athletes have lost one of their greatest advocates.
Ira D. Combs, a longtime educator, coach, athletic director and sports commentator died suddenly after collapsing at the Yum Center Thursday, he was 61.
Combs was from Perry County. He is the brother of “Cats Pause” founder Oscar Combs and a fixture on press row.
He was a well known radio and television sports commentator and newspaper columnist.
After the news of Ira’s death, tributes began pouring in from journalists and sports fans across the state.
Former WYMT Sports Director Brian Milam said, “There was a thing he would always say as he ended his radio show or TV show. He would of he had you on as as guest he would say Brian we could talk to you forever. Its just kind of sad you will never hear that again and you will never hear his voice again, live and in person. He loved Eastern Kentucky. He loved the mountains and it’s athletics and the kids and the coaches and what not. He was just outspoken about how he felt about a lot of things. He would not shy away about being somewhat controversial at times. This is a tough day”. Combs was walking into the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville to pick up his media credentials for the Midwest Regionals of the NCAA tournament when he collapsed. He later died at a Louisville hospital.
Many Kentucky sports enthusiasts spent the day sharing their memories of Combs and sending prayers and well-wishes to the Combs family through social media on Thursday.
Coach Cal tweeted the following statement:
Just got back from shootaround and heard about the passing of Ira Combs. Total shock and just so sad. Prayers to him and his family.
We here at Camen Media are saddened by this tragedy but know Ira was UK Blue, through and through, and know he is looking down on his beloved Wildcats. Ira will be missed.