Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Leroy Selmon 1954-2011

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

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”. 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. He was the first player to be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor on November 8, 2009.

After The Bucs

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. When Griffin moved on to take the same position for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 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. 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.”

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. To date, he is the only Hall of Famer to have earned his credentials primarily in Tampa Bay.

Death

Selmon suffered a massive stroke, 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. Selmon died at the age of 56 from complications of the stroke.