Dewey Selmon goes into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night, but don't expect a rousing induction.
If the Jim Thorpe Association wants to provide musical accompaniment with the Selmon celebration, don't get trumpets. Use violins.
Dewey Selmon is serene. Soft-spoken. A man of peace. A gentle giant. A gentle man.
Dewey Selmon never raises his voice.
“Never,” said someone who should know, Dewey's son Zac, a former Wake Forest tight end and now associate director of OU's Sooner Club. “That's very accurate.”
Dewey's preferred form of discipline, for Zac and his three older sisters and even a new generation of adopted children from Liberia?
“Long lectures,” Zac said. “Which was much worse than any spanking I could ever get. Long lectures at the kitchen table.”
Delivered in that melodic voice that soothes the spirit and calms the nerves.
All of which makes absolutely no sense to anyone who ever tried to block the ninth child of Jessie and Lucious Selmon Sr.
Dewey and his brothers torpedoed virtually every offense they faced almost 40 years ago as the OU defensive line, and now he joins Lee Roy and Lucious Jr. in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
“It's a special, humbling time for us,” Dewey said of his family once again being honored by an adoring state.
You've got to pay close attention when Dewey Selmon speaks. He doesn't try to outshout the din.
The world can get chaotic, but there sits Selmon, quietly offering life lessons when asked, about growing up on the farm outside Eufaula or playing football with his brothers or raising a family that makes our world a better place.
When Selmon was announced as a Hall of Fame inductee, he was asked what three things would he place on his plaque, if he could. Here's how he answered.
1. “First, I would put the word ‘blessed.' It was a blessed time to be at the University of Oklahoma. Blessed to be around Coach (Barry) Switzer and his players. I met my wife there. It was a blessed time. Give thanks to God for that.”
2. “Second, would be commitment. Being committed to a sport.” When everyone is committed, he said, good things happen. Selmon mentioned his old teammate, Jimbo Elrod, and how different they were. “But he played football on Saturdays just as hard as I did.” And good things happened to the Sooners.
3. “Last thing would be, as I've grown older, to sum up everything I've done, it would be thankful. Thankful that God blessed me with the talent to play the game, and be with Lucious and Lee Roy, Little Joe (Washington) and Jimbo. The people you meet at that young age, they carry you. The memories never go away. We showed commitment and tried to do it the right way. That will last forever.”
I don't know what Dewey Selmon will say in his speech Monday night. But I know this. You'll have to listen close. And you'll be glad you did.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.
HALL OF FAME SERIES
The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame will induct six new members Monday night at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The Oklahoman will profile the inductees:
Friday: Dewey Selmon
Saturday: Ferguson Jenkins
Sunday: Lynne Draper, Jess “Cab” Renick and Perry Maxwell.
Monday: Pat Jones
Born: Nov. 19, 1953.
High school: Eufaula
College: OU 1972-75
NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1976-81, San Diego Chargers 1982.
Presenter: Son Zac Selmon.
Claim to fame: Two-time all-American defensive lineman for the Sooners; he and brothers Lee Roy and Lucious formed the legendary OU defensive line in 1973.