Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon dies after stroke
Lee Roy Selmon is inducted into the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor at halftime of a game at Raymond James Stadium in 2009.
September 4th, 2011
11:25 PM ET

Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon dies after stroke

Lee Roy Selmon, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end who was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-ever draft pick, died Sunday after suffering a stroke two days earlier, the team said.

The 56-year-old had been admitted to a Tampa, Florida, hospital after suffering the stroke Friday.

Selmon, a two-time national champion and three-time All-American at Oklahoma University, played nine seasons after the expansion Buccaneers made him the first overall pick in the 1976 draft. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979, when the Bucs made it to the NFC championship game.

He still is the team’s all-time leader in sacks (78.5) and forced fumbles (28.5) and is the only Hall of Fame member to have played all of his seasons with Tampa Bay.

“He not only helped define the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but established himself as one of the best ever at the defensive end position,” Steve Perry, president of the Hall of Fame, said on the hall’s website.

The Glazer family, which has owned the Buccaneers since 1995, said in a statement Sunday that Selmon’s “standing as the first Buc in the Hall of Fame surely distinguishes him, but his stature off the field as the consummate gentleman put him in another stratosphere.”

The six-time Pro Bowler retired after the 1984 season and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1995, with an induction speech by his brother and Oklahoma and Tampa Bay teammate, Dewey Selmon.

Selmon became associate athletic director at the University of South Florida in the mid-1990s, and helped fund-raising and other efforts to establish a new football program for the school. The team began playing as a NCAA Division I-AA program in 1997, and it rose to Division I-A - now the Football Bowl Subdivision - in 2001.

Selmon was USF's athletic director from 2001 to 2004.

"We all loved him, and we're all deeply saddened," USF President Judy Genshaft said in a statement released by the school. "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."

His jersey number, 63, is the only one that the Bucs have retired, and an expressway in Tampa was named after him in 1999, according to the NFL team.

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Filed under: Florida • Football • Pro football • Sports
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. snow393

    it s a blog not a high school exam mr. or mrs. perfect . If you can read at all you will know what people are wanting to say!!

    September 5, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dylansdaddy

    They should make a card of him for Madden 12. Especially for the younger generation who may not of heard of this great man/player.

    September 5, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeffbaseball

    Living in St. Pete/Tampa for the past 27 years I've seen the benevolence of LeRoy in the area. He was the AD at the University of South Florida "Bulls" for years and built the football program that has received national acclaim and recently beat Notre Dame. He was bigger than life here. Before there was the Tampa Bay Lightning and Rays it was Selmon and the Bucs. He was and always will be Mr. Tampa Bay. God's peace LeRoy, we will miss you.

    September 5, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. HeWasTheMan

    I had the pleasure of meeting Lee Roy a couple of times. I worked in his restaurant chain. I gotta tell ya...this man was as nice as anyone could get...It was an honor to shake his hand....RIP #63

    September 5, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. BillinGA

    Great man. In contrast to the way he played, he was a soft spoken, thoughtful man in life. As a USF alumni I am most thankful for all he did to get the football team started and going in the direction it did. For comparison, WKU has been in the FBS for about the same amount of time. He went well before he should and that is truly sad. But while he was with us, he touched many and lived as an example for the rest of us. RIP amd God Bless.

    September 5, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    @phorce...and while you are at it, see if you can find that LSU study showing that there is a definite link between the amount of calories a person processes during their life and how many years a person lives. The human body is the most amazing engine ever, and like any engine, the more fuel it uses the faster it wears out and dies. After all, a calorie is nothing more than a unit of energy, just as an litre of gasoline is for a cars engine. High-grade fuels work best for most modern engines, as do high-grade foods work best for modern humans.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RUFFNUTT© ( elf slayer & 15th lvl warrior )

    if he hadn't died i would have been scared... that would make him a undead..

    September 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. johnnyjettt

    It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. Rest in peace our Tampa hero.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Skeptic

    @EW claim that "by the grace of God" your stroke didn't take your life. So does that mean that Leroy Selmon didn't have God's grace? (or do you have cake-and-eat-it-too syndrome, trying to have it both ways) And what's with football players who get down on their knees an "praise the Lord" when the score a TD, but you never see them cursing God when they drop the ball that would have scored? I've always wondered about that

    September 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnnyjettt

      This is not the time for airing your religous views, it time for saying good bye to a kind person. Put your issues aside for a minute and kindly say something nice or just don't say anything at all please.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pat

    @johnnyjettt... Who made you the boss around here? People can post whatever comments they'd like. Do you try setting the rules for everyone in your personal life, too?

    September 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnnyjettt

      I'm sure your partent are so proud of you

      September 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • erik

      Um, what's a partent?

      September 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Skeptic

    @joannyjett. This is not the time to be airing your anti-religious sentiment. Just say something nice or...

    September 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      Haha, good one Skeptic. That johnny jett is a moron.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. RUFFNUTT© ( elf slayer & 15th lvl warrior )

    i wonder if his tombstone will be football shaped?

    September 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Phlip

    No mistaking our very own, the One, the Only...RUFFNUTT ! you crack me up 'most every single day. (RIP Leroy Selmon...but we let the dead bury the dead 'roun hea'. Right Ruffie?

    September 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RUFFNUTT© ( elf slayer & 15th lvl warrior )

    nope...that's the job of the grounds keepers... if we let that happen they would go on strike and we would have a full blown zombie apocylisp. with sprikles on top...

    September 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    Not the lierally dead, Ruffie, just the ones who are more interested in a fella once he's dead than they were when he was alive. Few things make me puke more than a moldy burrito, but one of them is people who spew pure BS about someone at their funeral. "She was such a great mother and provider" when she was a 2-bit crack hoe on welfare for 30 years, for a light-hearted example. Or "He was a great politician and a great husband" when the guy got caught dipping into our tax monies a few times and died the night he was with another mans wife, to be heavier example. Just speak the truth at funerals and nobody throws-up on the new carpet.

    September 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |

      HERE lies Lee Roy Selmon, he was a real jerk and stuffed nerds in lockers at school, altho he could run with a football...he couldn't run past a fast food place without eating a cheeseberger...

      September 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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