Lee Roy Selmon's teammates respected the player, loved the person

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Modified: September 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm •  Published: September 4, 2011
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Led by Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma's defenses were so dominant in the mid-1970s, if the Sooners won the coin toss, they elected to kick off.

Considered the greatest player in OU history, Selmon suffered a stroke Friday afternoon in Tampa. He died Sunday at age 56.

Teammates used the word dominant to describe the College and Pro Football Hall of Famer but insist that's only half the story.

“Lining up next to him and his brothers, it was amazing just to watch them play,” said defensive end Jimbo Elrod. “But as amazing as Lee Roy was as a player, he was an even more amazing person.”

The cornerstone to OU teams that won back-to-back national championships in 1974 and 1975, Selmon was one of the greatest defensive linemen ever.

“He was as dominant as any player I've ever seen,” said safety Randy Hughes, who played six years for the Dallas Cowboys. “No one could cut (block) him. Nobody could knock him down. He had great feet, great balance. And what a great person. Forget football. What a great family.”

Playing alongside brothers Lucious and Dewey, a trio that turned their mother and their hometown (Eufaula) into Oklahoma legends, Lee Roy Selmon helped the Sooners go on one of the greatest runs in college football history.

During Lee Roy's and Dewey's four seasons, the Sooners compiled a 43-2-1 record, won two national titles and went 38 consecutive games without a loss.

“Lee Roy carried the torch for all of us throughout his career,” said All-American offensive tackle Mike Vaughan. “You're so proud just to be associated with him and all his great accomplishments.”

Steve Davis, the quarterback on those back-to-back national title teams, had an early glimpse of Selmon and his brothers.

Davis played at Sallisaw, ranked No. 1 the year the Black Diamonds played Eufaula. It rained hard that day.

“I remember Lee Roy on defense because I never made a play. I never got very far down the field away from him,” Davis said. “On offense, he and Dewey rotated at tailback. They gave them the ball about 52 times between the two of them, which is why they won.”


by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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