Lee Roy Selmon, the football player and the man, was a TampaBay treasure. The award-winning Sooner and a subsequent charter TampaBay Buccaneer, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pro Football Hall of fame in 1995. We already have several Hall of Fame and Buccaneer icons in place, including the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway. Sadly, he died of complications from a stroke on September 4, 2011.
Upon retirement from football Selmon went into banking then ultimately became Athletic Director at the University of South Florida, launching their first-ever football team. Citing health reasons, he stepped down in 2004 to become president of the USF Foundation Partnership for Athletics.
We can also remember Lee Roy for great food, so can tourists who fly or drive down to TampaBay for the fun things – the beaches, NFL, MLB, the area’s busy cruise port, Busch Gardens, museums, hanging with relatives and friends. Lee Roy knew the eating would always be important. His restaurants embrace “southern graciousness along with the competitive sporting life,” which was his credo during his growing years. He created restaurants for the sport who wants real and hearty food with simultaneous sports action spread across dozens of large screens.
He was also quick to use his food and TampaBay presence to honor his mom and share their delicious cultural heritance. He liked to quote what she always told him and his brothers: “Play hard. Eat well. And don’t forget to share!”
Some of his colorful sporting, country-based offerings today are Back Country Nachos, Sweet Potato Fries, Smokin’ Pulled Pork, Chicken or Brisket Quesadilla, Fried Green Tomatoes kicked up with Garlic Horseradish Aioli, Queso Rockets and an array of Sliders teamed up with sides of Cheese & Bacon Grits, Cornbread Casserole, Brown & Wild Rice Infusion and of course Smashed Potatoes.
His LeeRoySelmons.com website still includes some of is his mom’s recipes and a handy section titled, “All-Pro Tailgating,” which includes handy suggestions and packing lists. Selmon’s current restaurant locations are South Tampa, New Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Palm Harbor.
Lee Roy Selmon leaves behind his wife, Claybra Fields and three sons, Brandy, Lee Roy, Jr. and Christopher. He was 56.