Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Former South Florida AD and NFL legend passes away

See the news of Lee Roy Selmon's death being officially confirmed a few minute ago had me taking a trip down memory lane.

It was back in December of 2002 and I was in Tampa to cover the UConn women's basketball team's game against South Florida. The USF men's basketball team included a freshman named Danny Oglesby, who starred at Hamden Hall so I took in the men's basketball game so I could speak with Danny and USF men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg.

Press row was relatively empty when I grabbed a steal near midcourt. About 15 minutes later, a large, distinguished man sat down about two seats away from me. He leaned over and introduced himself by saying "hi, I'm Lee Roy Selmon."

As a Buccaneers fan dating back to 1983 when I lived in South Florida, no introduction was necessary. I knew he was the athletic director at South Florida and I thought it would be pretty amazing to see one of my all-time favorite athletes up close and in person at the USF basketball games. Here I was shaking hands with the player who was the reason I became a Buccaneers fan in the first place. For the next 30-45 minutes, I was in absolute heaven. He told stories, not of his incredible individual achievements but of being a part of great teams at the University of Oklahoma, thr joy he gained by playing alongside his brothers at Oklahoma. When we talked about the NFL, I could see how thrilled he was seeing the Buccaneers become one of the best teams in the NFL. We talked about the current state of college football, the upcoming NFL playoffs and what it would be like if the Buccaneers would win the Super Bowl (which they did a month later). I spent several minutes entertaining questions from him about the UConn women's basketball program. He was extremely excited to have the defending national champions coming into USF for what promised to be a festive atmosphere. He mentioned that he'd love to meet UConn coach Geno Auriemma. I told him that Geno is a huge sports fan and believe me, he would be absolutely beside himself with joy if he had a chance to talk with you.

I was struck by the dignity in which he carried himself with and the modesty he showed in talking about his Hall of Fame careers at Oklahoma and Tampa Bay. I have read so many stories of sports legends crossing paths with fans and the result being a disenchanted former fan left wishing they had never met up with their childhood idols. I was fortunate enough to see that Lee Roy was as much a champion off the field as he was on it.

Reading some of the stories on Lee Roy since he suffered a massive stroke on Friday showed me that I am far from the only person who viewed him in this way.

1 Comments:

Anonymous UConn Steve said...

Rest In Peace, Lee Roy Selmon.

7:23 AM 

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