Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Selmon's generosity touched prep sports

Plant football coach Robert Weiner remembers Lee Roy Selmon as a generous, humble man who helped the Panthers’ program get off the ground.

Times (2010)

Plant football coach Robert Weiner remembers Lee Roy Selmon as a generous, humble man who helped the Panthers’ program get off the ground.

TAMPA — For a generation of high school football players who never saw Lee Roy Selmon play beyond NFL Films footage, the Bucs Hall of Famer still remained close to the prep sports community.

"He was ubiquitous around town," Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez said. "I had a number of kids come up to me during and after the game on Friday and say they knew Mr. Selmon, that he went to their parish or there was an occasion when they got in trouble in middle school and he spoke to them and tried to set them straight. He had an amazingly positive effect on this community.

"He did a lot and still had a lot to do," Henriquez said.

Selmon died Sunday two days after suffering a stroke. But Selmon's community contributions transcended his athletic ability.

He was one of the most accessible athletes in the area, always willing to pass on a life lesson to a young athlete. He was close to the Tampa Catholic program. Selmon spoke to the Tampa Catholic football team before its 2A state title game in 2007. Selmon was the godfather of former Crusaders star quarterback and current Florida State wide receiver Christian Green, Henriquez said.

"It's amazing how available he was for someone of his stature," Henriquez said. "If you wanted him to speak to your team or at a banquet or to a particular kid, he always made himself available. His message was always more about having class and lessons off the field."

His mark on Tampa neighborhoods knew no bounds. Blake coach Harry Hubbard said Selmon spoke at the All-Pro Dad event in April at Raymond James Stadium.

"I think that when you have a person of his caliber, there's no way that they should not know about him," Hubbard said. "We're truly suffering a big loss. It's still hard to believe that he's passed. I'll miss him as a friend."

When Robert Weiner was looking to raise money in his first days as Plant football coach in 2004, he turned to Selmon, whose restaurant catered team meals and offered fundraisers that allowed the Panthers to keep 100 percent of the proceeds.

"We were able to raise thousands of dollars every year because of that," Weiner said.

A Plant football helmet is one of the many that adorn Selmon's restaurant in West Tampa, and during one visit to the restaurant, Weiner said, Selmon rushed out to thank him to allowing him to display the helmet.

"The honor was the other way around," Weiner said. "I think that's just an example of how humble he was. He always deflected the glory away from himself even though he was the center of it."

So even though today's teenager would seem removed from Selmon's legacy, he was always close to the high school fields of Hillsborough County.

"He's not a contemporary player, but the kids know who Lee Roy Selmon is," Henriquez said. "He was everywhere where he was needed in the community. It was never about him. His legacy is unmatched. It's amazing that for someone who came to this city to play football and has given back to anybody who's ever lived here."

Eduardo A. Encina can be reached at, and follow him on Twitter at @EddieHometeam.

Selmon's generosity touched prep sports 09/06/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 1:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.