Oklahoma football unveils statue of Selmon brothers, 'an inspiration' for future players

NORMAN — Lucious Selmon doesn’t have to stand on his tiptoes anymore.

The former OU defensive lineman and his two brothers, Dewey and Lee Roy Selmon, were immortalized Saturday before the Sooners' game against Kansas State in the form of a towering bronze statue that was unveiled outside the northeast entrance of Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

The unveiling served as a celebration for three brothers who dominated during their time at Norman. OU went 54-3-1 with at least one Selmon brother on the field from 1971-75, and it won two national championships during that time.

Lucious and Dewey attended the unveiling. Lee Roy, who passed away in 2011, was represented by his son, Lee Roy Selmon Jr.

Also in attendance were numerous OU legends such as Barry Switzer, Bob Stoops, Joe Washington, Keith Jackson, Greg Pruitt, Tinker Owens and Steve Owens.

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A statue honoring former OU football players and brothers Lucious, Dewey and Lee Roy Selmon is revealed Saturday in Norman.
A statue honoring former OU football players and brothers Lucious, Dewey and Lee Roy Selmon is revealed Saturday in Norman.

“To say I’m happy to be here is an understatement,” Lucious said. “I am so happy, elated and overwhelmed to see family, ex-players and coaches here.”

Saturday’s unveiling almost didn’t happen had it not been for a change of plans in 1970.

The Sooners had secured a verbal commitment from Barry Price, a nose guard from Midwest City who was ranked as the top recruit in the state of Oklahoma. But Price flipped to Oklahoma State on the week of signing day, leaving OU with a spot to fill.

Following Price’s decommitment, then-head coach Chuck Fairbanks and his staff held a meeting. Fairbanks wanted to know if there were any other available prospects who possessed the physical ability to play on the Sooners’ defensive line.

“There’s a guy over at Eufaula who thinks he’s going to be Jim Brown,” then-defensive coordinator Larry Lacewell replied. “He has the physical characteristics. He runs fast enough, and he’ll be a super-down lineman if he learns how to play with his hands on the ground.”

Lacewell was referring to Lucious, a running back at Eufaula High School who didn’t hold any offers at the time.

“Go offer him and bring him in,” Fairbanks said. “But we won’t offer him until we see him, and he has to be at least six feet tall.”

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Lucious showed up to campus a few days prior to signing day and immediately got on the staff’s good side with his personality and intelligence.

But there was a catch.

“How tall are you?” Switzer, OU’s then-offensive coordinator, asked Lucious.

“I’m 5-foot-11 and three quarters,” Lucious replied.

“Lucious,” Switzer instructed. “When you meet Chuck Fairbanks, I want you to stand on your tiptoes. You stick your hand out there, you keep your balance and you shake hands with him. And don’t spend too much time with him.”

Lucious passed Fairbanks’ eye test, and the rest is history.

Lucious was a star defensive tackle by the time he concluded his sophomore season in 1972. That’s also when his younger brothers, Dewey and Lee Roy, joined the Sooners that offseason.

The three Selmon brothers were a force to be reckoned with when on the field together. Lucious earned All-American honors in 1973, while Lee Roy and Dewey were named All-Americans in 1974 and 1975.

All three Selmon brothers went on to have professional football careers.

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Lucious Selmon speaks before a statue honoring Oklahoma football players and brothers Lucious, Dewey and Lee Roy Selmon is revealed before a football game outside Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Lucious Selmon speaks before a statue honoring Oklahoma football players and brothers Lucious, Dewey and Lee Roy Selmon is revealed before a football game outside Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

Lucious played for the World Football League’s Memphis Southmen from 1974-75. Lee Roy then got selected No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1976 NFL Draft, and Dewey got picked by the Buccaneers in the second round of the same draft.

As Dewey looked out at the crowd of a few hundred people anxiously awaiting the statue's unveiling, he couldn't help but think about what his brother Lee Roy would've done had he been able to attend.

"If (Lee Roy) was here, he would've told stories about you," Dewey said while pointing to the crowd. "He would've told stories about how you influenced his life. He would've told you stories about his God... He would say today is not about him. It's about you. And when everybody was all gone and everybody walked away, he would've sat by himself.

"At that point he would've pulled his handkerchief out and cried tears of joy not because he was being honored. He would've cried tears of joy because you were here."

Dewey concluded his speech soon afterward, and it became time for the statue to be unveiled.

OU counted down from seven to symbolize its seven national championships. When the countdown hit zero, numerous family members and friends of the Selmon brothers ripped the black tarp off the statue to reveal the trio standing side by side.

“For the next generation of athletes that come along, I hope it will serve as an inspiration to them to take a chance,” Lucious said of the statue. “Go out where you don’t know it’s going to lead to. Just be willing to be consistent and give it your best, and who knows what can happen.”

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU football: How the Selmon brothers' statue, legacy at OU came to be