Born.... October 20, 1954 in Eufaula, Oklahoma, U.S..... Passed 09/04/2011
Brief.... Height 6'3" Weight 250lbs
NFL Draft..... 1976 / Round: 1 | Pick: 1
Buccaneers Career..... 1977 - 1981
Ended Career By..... Retired in 1985 (As a result of a 1984 back injury
Selmon is regarded as one of the greatest players in Buccaneer history and the first Tampa Bay player selected to the National Football Hall of Fame. Selected in round one as te first pick of the 1976 draft he started at defensive end for nine seasons remaining the franchise record holder for sacks. A six-time Pro Bowler, he missed the 1985 season through a back problem and retired from the game at the end of that year. Was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 1979 and was the first player named to the team's Ring of Honor in 2009. He passed away on September 4, 2011, following a stroke.
Selmon was the youngest of nine children of Lucious and Jessie Selmon, raised on a farm near Eufaula, Oklahoma. A National Honor Society member at Eufaula High School, he graduated in 1971 after playing football through high school. His two older brothers also played football and went to Oklahoma University, which he attended and where he graduated.
In 1972, Selmon followed his brothers Lucious and Dewey Selmon in playing on the defensive line at the University of Oklahoma. He blossomed into a star in 1974, anchoring one of the best defenses in Oklahoma Sooners football history. The Sooners were national champions in 1974 and 1975. Selmon won the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy in 1975. Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer called him the best player he ever coached, and College Football News placed him as the 39th-best college player of all time.
Selmon was known as "The Gentle Giant." In the fall of 1999, Selmon was named to the Sports Illustrated 'NCAA Football All-Century Team.'
Selmon was named a consensus All-American in 1974 and 1975 by Newspaper Enterprise Association. His list of achievements include the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American, and Graduate Fellowship Winner National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. The 1996 Walter Camp "Alumnus of the Year" was voted to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
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In 1976, Selmon was the first player picked in the NFL draft, the first-ever pick for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He joined older brother, Dewey, who was a second-round pick of the Bucs. In his first year, Selmon won the team's 'Rookie of the Year' and MVP awards. Selmon played in six straight Pro Bowls and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979. Buccaneer assistant Abe Gibron said, "Selmon has no peers" at defensive end, while former Detroit Lions coach Monte Clark compared him to "a grown man at work among a bunch of boys".
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A back injury forced him to leave at the end of the 1984 season; the Bucs retired his number, 63, in 1986. He was elected to the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. In January 2008, Selmon was voted by a panel of former NFL players and coaches to Pro Football Weekly 's All-Time 3-4 defensive team along with Harry Carson, Curley Culp, Randy Gradishar, Howie Long, Lawrence Taylor and Andre Tippett. He was the first player to be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor on November 8, 2009.
Additional Awards & Honors
1988.... Selmon was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
6× Pro Bowl (1979–1984)
3× First-team All-Pro (1979, 1980, 1982)
2× Second-team All-Pro (1978, 1984)
6× First-team All-NFC (1977–1980, 1982, 1984)
Second-team All-NFC selection (1983)
NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
Pro Bowl Co-MVP (1981)
1979 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
1979 NFL Defensive Lineman of the Year
1975 Outland Trophy
1975 Lombardi Award
1975 UPI Lineman of the Year
Tampa Bay Buccaneers #63 retired
Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1995
1991 Tampa Stadium Krewe of Honor
2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor
Selmon stayed in Tampa, Florida, working as a bank executive and being active in many charities.
From 1993 to 2001, Selmon served as an assistant athletic director at the University of South Florida under Paul Griffin. After Griffin was forced to resign, Selmon was promoted to take over the athletic department. As the USF Athletic Director, Selmon launched the football program, spearheaded the construction of a new athletic facility, and led the university's move into Conference USA, and into the Big East Conference.
Citing health issues, Selmon resigned as the USF Athletic Director in 2004. He took the role as president of the USF Foundation Partnership for Athletics, an athletics fund-raising organization.
Selmon suffered a massive stroke on September 2, 2011, which left him hospitalized in extremely critical condition. His restaurant initially released a statement announcing his death; however, this was later confirmed to be false. In fact, at one point his condition was said to be improving.
On September 4, 2011, Selmon died at the age of 56 from complications of the stroke. Visitation was scheduled for the following Thursday at the Exciting Central Tampa Baptist Church. The funeral was held the next day at Idlewild Baptist Church. Former teammates, the current Buccaneer team, the USF football team, other members of the NFL, and the general public attended. The USF football team wore a #63 decal on their helmets for the 2011 season, as did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams conducted a ceremony to honor Selmon the weekend following his death.
TAMPA — Hearts will be heavy when the Bucs open up the season at home against the Detroit Lions on September 11th. Not only will that particular day be filled with grief-stricken memories of a tragic day, the Bucs will have to double up on the somber tone.
Lee Roy Selmon, the original Buccaneer legend, died on Saturday — two days after being rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke .
Selmon wasn’t only a legendary Buccaneer on the field, but he was instrumental to football operations off the field for not only the Buccaneers but for football in Florida all together. Selmon was a driving force behind getting a football program at South Florida, who honored him on Saturday by wearing his number on their helmets.
“We all loved him, and we’re all deeply saddened,” USF President Judy Genshaft said. “We’re a better university because of Lee Roy Selmon. He was an incredible role model, who cared about all of our student-athletes, no matter what sport. He built an incredible legacy and he will never be forgotten.”
Selmon served as Athletic Director at USF from 2001-2003.
He is a legend in South Florida for his help in creating the Bulls, but he started making a name for himself even before he arrived in Tampa with the Buccaneers.
Selmon and his brothers Dewey and Lucious played collegiality at Oklahoma University where, in 1974, Lee Roy exploded into a standout star. He helped the Sooners win the National Championship in 1974 and ’75, winning the Lombardi Award for Best College Linebacker and the Outland Trophy for the Best Interior Lineman in the latter year.
“No Sooner player cast a longer shadow over its rich tradition than Lee Roy,” former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer said in a statement. “Beyond his many and great accomplishments, I believe the true legacy of Lee Roy Selmon lies within the kind of man he was. Lee Roy possessed a combination of grace, humility, and dignity that is rare. His engaging smile and gentleness left you feeling blessed to be in his presence. Best of all, he was all genuine. One would be blessed to have a father, son, uncle, brother, or friend like Lee Roy Selmon.”Embed from Getty Images
Probably the best personal experience during his time at Oklahoma for Selmon, was being teamed up on the same defensive line with his two brothers, Dewey and Lucious. The trio played the whole 1973 season together on the field and are still, to this day, regarded as the most famous set of brothers to grace Oklahoma University.
After finishing his College career with the Sooners, Selmon was drafted as the first ever draft selection for the newly created Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He didn’t go to Tampa alone, as brother Dewey was a second round pick for the Bucs. Selmon went on to be perhaps one of the greatest, if not the greatest Buccaneer the franchise has seen.
A lot of his status as a legend in Tampa comes from Selmon being the first of his kind in a Bucs uniform. By this, Selmon was a freak; a powerful superstar and a defensive stud that gave the team something to get behind. Because let’s be honest: they weren’t going anywhere vary fast after their conception. Selmon raked in the accolades in a Bucs uniform, winning the team’s Rookie of the Year and MVP award in his first season. He went on to play in six Pro Bowls wearing creamsicle colors as well as winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1979.
“The guy just worked as hard as you could ever work and was just a great guy,” said former Tampa Bay teammate Bill Kollar, now the Houston Texans’ assistant head coach and defensive line coach.
Selmon finished his career with the Buccaneers in 1984 after suffering a back injury. He finished his NFL career with 742 tackles and 78 1/2 sacks. The Buccaneers made his number the first number the franchise ever retired, and they did it a mere 2 years after his retirement. When the Buccaneers started their Ring of Honor, Selmon was the hands down choice as inaugural inductee.
That right there shows you how much Lee Roy Selmon meant to the Buccaneers.
In 2008, Selmon was voted by NFL Players and Coaches as a member of Pro Football Weekly‘s All-Time 3-4 Defensive Team which etched his name along side NFL legends like Harry Carson, Curley Culp, Randy Gradishar, Howie Long, Lawrence Taylor and Andre Tippett. He was also elected to the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and in 1988 was elected as a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
In 1995, Selmon was officially recognized and solidified as an NFL legend when he became the first member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Selmon’s bust was presented by his brother Dewey. Selmon took time to thank all the people involved in his Hall of Fame career from his wife, to his Oklahoma coaches, to the Buccaneers and even to a nameless fan who showed support every week.
“I am so appreciative of someone in Tampa Bay,” Selmon said in his Hall of Fame Speech. “Who always put a sign in the corner of the end zone that said, ‘Lee Roy Selmon for the Hall of Fame.’ I don’t know who that was, but that is very special. It shows you the kind of people that live in the Tampa Bay area.”
Selmon showed his love Tampa and South Florida post his NFL career by giving it college football and giving kids a chance to start out like he did.
Guys — strike that — MEN like Lee Roy Selmon don’t come around a lot. We see that everyday with the basic happenings of society and the society within both collegiate and pro football. He was a man who loved football as much as he loved people and that was amplified by his big heart outside the gridiron. Bucs fans, players and the organization as a whole, feel a hole in their hearts and in their very soul because a big part of it is now gone forever.
Maybe, just maybe the good will and passion Lee Roy Selmon had for all things football, all things people and all things life will be passed on and shared with all generations of Bucs players and fans. Sunday will be a tough day to deal with, but the legacy of Lee Roy Selmon is cemented in Tampa and his soul will never be forgotten.
There will always be a sign in the endzone for Lee Roy Selmon, and there will always be Lee Roy Selmon in all our hearts.
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