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The top five reasons the late Lee Roy Selmon deserved Wednesday’s athletic center renaming

The unveiling of the Lee Roy Selmon Athletic Center. Photo credit: Marc Seide

USF memorialized the late Lee Roy Selmon on Wednesday as they unveiled the Athletic Building now named the Lee Roy Selmon Athletic Center.

Led by USF President Judy Genshaft and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Doug Woolard, the ceremony paid tribute to the father of Bull’s football who passed away at the age of 56 due to complications of a stroke on Sept. 4.

Everyone from Genshaft to Selmon’s wife, Claybra, spoke about the man who change the athletic program.

But why rename the athletic building?

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Bringing football to USF- In 1993, Selmon was hired as associate athletic director, serving under Paul Griffin. During his tenure, He launched the football program in 1997 with the hiring of the Bull’s first head coach Jim Leavitt. Together they spearheaded the construction of a new athletic facility and moving the Bulls into Conference USA. “As associate athletic director, he championed the establishment of Bulls football,” Woolard said.

2. Moving USF to the Big East- Serving as athletic director in 2003, Selmon, along with USF Board of Trustees, ushered USF into the Big East Conference from Conference USA, expanding the USF brand and name.

3. Rocky’s makeover- Selmon didn’t just expand USF athletics, he also gave USF’s mascot, Rocky, a makeover. His son, Lee Roy Selmon Jr., describes the process of selecting prototypes for Rocky and jerseys fun. “One day he came home and even he said lets look at these pictures because Rocky, he needs a makeover,” Selmon Jr. said. “We looked over different prototypes for jerseys and it was a lot of fun.”

4. Unanimous Vote- During her speech at Lee Roy’s memorial service back in September, Genshaft announced that the USF Board of Trustees unanimously voted to change the name of the Athletic Training Facility to the Lee Roy Selmon Athletic Center.

5. His love for student athletes- Selmon’s lasting legacy wasn’t the launching of the football program or moving USF to the Big East, but touching the lives of student athletes. He believed that every individual had a huge goal to accomplish. “He wanted to see all of our students to use this opportunity to get an education and to learn about his or herself,” Genshaft said.

Selmon touched the lives of many football players and quarterback B.J. Daniels will never forget one of his greatest messages.

“I’ve had numerous encounters with him and one thing I can say is that he’s a big motivator, and he does it by example, by the type of person he is,” Daniels said. “One thing he always told me is win or lose, make sure you get your degree. Stay strong and hold your head up high because there is a lot to be thankful for.”

With that, Lee Roy’s legacy lives on at USF.


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