American Football Database
Lee Roy Selmon

Selmon during his playing career
No. 63     
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1954-10-20)October 20, 1954
Place of birth: Eufaula, Oklahoma
Date of death: September 4, 2011(2011-09-04) (aged 56)
Place of death: Tampa, Florida
High School: Eufaula (OK)
Career information
College: Oklahoma
NFL Draft: 1976 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Debuted in 1976 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last played in 1984 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Tackles     742
Sacks     78.5
Fumbles forced     28.5
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame

Lee Roy Selmon (October 20, 1954 – September 4, 2011) was a Hall of Fame NFL football defensive lineman.

Early life

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.

College career

Selmon joined brothers Lucious and Dewey Selmon on the University of Oklahoma defensive line in 1972. He blossomed into a star in 1974, anchoring one of the best defenses in Sooner history. The Sooners were NCAA Division I-A national football champions in 1974 and 1975. Selmon won the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy in 1975. OU 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. He 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 long list of achievements, in addition to the Vince Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy, includes the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American and Graduate Fellowship Winner National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.

His brothers Lucious Selmon and Dewey also were All-American defensive linemen for Oklahoma, and played on the same defensive line together in 1973. The trio is still regarded as the most famous set of brothers in OU history.

The 1996 Walter Camp "Alumnus of the Year" was voted to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame [1] in 1992.


Season Tackles Sacks TFL
UT AT TT Sack YdsL TFL Yds
1972 5 6 11 3 16 1 ?
1973 37 20 57 9 49 2 ?
1974 65 60 125 18 71 1 ?
1975 88 44 132 10 48 4 ?
Career 195 130 325 40 184 8 ?

All statistics courtesy of the official website of the Oklahoma Sooners

Professional career

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 went to 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".[2] A back injury made the 1984 season his last, and the Bucs retired his number, 63, in 1986. He is a member of 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.[3] He was the first player to be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor on November 8, 2009.

After football

Selmon stayed in Tampa, Florida, working as a bank executive and being active in many charities.

From 1993-2001, Selmon served as an assistant athletic director at the University of South Florida under Paul Griffin. After Griffin was forced to resign,[4] Selmon stepped up and took 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 then into the Big East Conference. Citing health issues, Selmon resigned as the USF Athletic Director in 2004. He assumed the role as president of the USF Foundation Partnership for Athletics, an athletics fund-raising organization.

The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway is named for him, as is a chain of restaurants.[5] The chain, Lee Roy Selmon's, was named one of the 10 best sports bars in America in 2009. Its motto is "Play Hard. Eat Well. And Don't Forget to Share."[1]

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. He was the first Hall of Famer to have earned his credentials primarily in Tampa Bay, to be joined by Warren Sapp in 2013. In 2010, he was ranked #98 on the top 100 greatest players of all time, as surveyed by NFL network.


Selmon suffered a massive stroke on September 2, 2011, which left him hospitalized in extremely critical[6] condition.[7][8] His restaurant initially released a statement announcing his death; however, this was later confirmed to be false.[6] In fact, at one point his condition was said to be improving.[9]

On September 4, 2011, Selmon died at the age of 56 from complications of the stroke.[10] 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.[11]


  1. Jim Thorpe Association
  2. Dielschnieder, Jim. "Lee Roy Selmon: A Man Among Boys". The Gainesville Sun. 6 September 1981
  3. "Volume 22 Issue 29". Pro Football Weekly.
  5. Lee Roy Selmon's
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer great Lee Roy Selmon in 'extremely critical condition'". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  7. "Lee Roy Selmon, Hall of Fame football player, suffers stroke". 10 News. September 2, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  8. Noah Pransky (September 2, 2011). "Reports conflict about Selmon's health". Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  9. "Lee Roy Selmon improving". Associated Press. September 3, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  10. "Lee Roy Selmon passes away". September 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  11. Joey Johnston (September 5, 2011). "Funeral services for Selmon to be held Friday". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 2011-09-05.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dianne Baker
Junior Bridgeman
Pat Haden
Lisa Rosenblum
John Dickson Stufflebeem
John Trembley
Silver Anniversary Awards (NCAA)
Class of 2001
Alpha V. Alexander
Archie Griffin
Steve Largent
Steve Raible
Lee Roy Selmon
Wally Walker
Succeeded by
Richard C. Chapman
Maurice "Bo" Ellis
Herman Frazier
Betsy King
John Naber
Rodney E. Slater
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Paul Griffin
University of South Florida Athletic Director
Succeeded by
Doug Woolard