The pride of Eufaula, these brothers dominated opposing offenses while playing football at the University of Oklahoma (OU). Lucious II (born March 15, 1951), Dewey Willis (born November 19, 1953), and Lee Roy (born October 20, 1954) Selmon, all born at Muskogee, were three of nine siblings who grew up outside Eufaula. Eufaula High School coach Paul Bell coaxed Lucious into running track in the seventh grade and eventually interested him in football. The two younger Selmon brothers, born eleven months apart, belonged to the same class and followed their older brother into football.
University of Oklahoma assistant coach Larry Lacewell traveled to Eufaula to recruit Lucious and, although he had some apprehension about the youngster's size, he noticed the younger brothers and offered the scholarship. Lacewell hoped he would eventually have Dewey and Lee Roy wearing OU crimson. Lucious exceeded the expectations of Lacewell's first visit, becoming an All-American and three-year starter. Dewey and Lee Roy did follow Lucious to Norman, and both skipped the freshman squad to play varsity football their first season. Lucious earned All-American honors in 1973, and Lee Roy and Dewey achieved All-American status in 1974 and 1975, the years that Oklahoma won national championships. Lee Roy also won the Outland and Vince Lombardi trophies in 1975. All three brothers were also accomplished students, and Dewey eventually attained a doctorate in philosophy.
After college Lucious played in the World Football League for the Memphis Southmen. After one season he returned to OU as an assistant coach. In 1995 he left the Sooners and became the linebackers coach for the National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Lee Roy as the first pick of their new franchise and the first selection in the 1976 National Football League (NFL) draft. While Lee Roy was with the Buccaneers, the league named him All-Pro six times, and he became the first Tampa Bay player to have his number retired. For thirteen years he held the club's team record for quarterback sacks, before Warren Sapp broke it in 2000. In 1986 Lee Roy retired from football because he had injured his back. Two years later he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He also became the first former OU football player elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. In 1993 the University of Southern Florida hired him as associate athletic director and then promoted him to athletic director in 2001. In 2000 he opened Lee Roy Selmon's restaurant in Tampa, Florida, which has an expressway named in his honor. He died on September 4, 2011.
In the second round of the 1976 draft Tampa Bay selected Dewey, making the Selmon brothers the first two picks of their organization. Dewey played for the Buccaneers until 1982, and then the team traded him to the San Diego Chargers. After one year with the Chargers Dewey returned to Norman and worked as an oil and gas consultant. He served on the Norman Housing Authority board, and in 1993 he opened his own construction business.
In 1988 the Selmon brothers began marketing their Selmon Brothers Fine Bar-B-Q Sauce. Their older brother, Charles, developed the sauce for his Selmon Brothers Bar-B-Q restaurant in Wichita, Kansas. Brothers Chester and Elmer also lived in that city at the end of the twentieth century.
J. Brent Clark, Sooner Century: 100 Glorious Years of Oklahoma Football: 1895–1995 (Coal Valley, Ill.: Quality Sports Publications, 1995).
Mary Forbes, Gentle Giants: The Selmon Brothers (Tampa, Fla.: Mariner Publishing Co., Inc., 1981).
"Selmon Brothers," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Larry O'Dell, “Selmon Brothers,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=SE009.
© Oklahoma Historical Society.