This Day in College Football History – October 20th

Lee Roy Selmon (October 20, 1954 – September 4, 2011) was a Hall of Fame NFL football defensive lineman.

Selmon was the youngest of nine children of Lucious and Jessie Selmon, raised on a farm near Eufaula, Oklahoma. A National Honor Society member at Eufaula High School, he graduated in 1971.

Selmon joined brothers Lucious and Dewey Selmon on the University of Oklahoma defensive line in 1972. He blossomed into a star in 1974, anchoring one of the best defenses in Sooner history. The Sooners were NCAA Division I-A national football champions in 1974 and 1975. Selmon won the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy in 1975. OU Head Coach Barry Switzer called him the best player he ever coached, and College Football News placed him as the 39th best college player of all time. He was known as “The Gentle Giant.” In the fall of 1999, Selmon was named to the Sports Illustrated NCAA Football All-Century Team.

Selmon was named a consensus All-American in 1974 and 1975 by Newspaper Enterprise Association. His long list of achievements, in addition to the Vince Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy, includes the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American and Graduate Fellowship Winner National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.

His brothers Lucious Selmon and Dewey also were All-American defensive linemen for Oklahoma, and played on the same defensive line together in 1973. The trio is still regarded as the most famous set of brothers in OU history.

The 1996 Walter Camp “Alumnus of the Year” was voted to the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

In 1976, Selmon was the first player picked in the NFL draft, the first-ever pick for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He joined older brother, Dewey, who was a second round pick of the Bucs. In his first year Selmon won the team’s Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. Selmon went to six straight Pro Bowls and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979. Buccaneer assistant Abe Gibron said, “Selmon has no peers” at defensive end, while former Detroit Lions coach Monte Clark compared him to “a grown man at work among a bunch of boys”. A back injury made the 1984 season his last, and the Bucs retired his number, 63, in 1986. He is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. In January 2008, Selmon was voted by a panel of former NFL players and coaches to Pro Football Weekly ‘s All-Time 3-4 defensive team along with Harry Carson, Curley Culp, Randy Gradishar, Howie Long, Lawrence Taylor and Andre Tippett. He was the first player to be inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor on November 8, 2009.

Selmon stayed in Tampa, Florida, working as a bank executive and being active in many charities. From 1993-2001, Selmon served as an assistant athletic director at the University of South Florida under Paul Griffin. When Griffin moved on to take the same position for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Selmon stepped up and took over the athletic department.

As the USF Athletic Director, Selmon launched the football program, spearheaded the construction of a new athletic facility and led the university’s move into Conference USA and then into the Big East Conference. Citing health issues, Selmon resigned as the USF Athletic Director in 2004. He assumed the role as president of the USF Foundation Partnership for Athletics, an athletics fund-raising organization.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. To date, he is the only Hall of Famer to have earned his credentials primarily in Tampa Bay. Selmon suffered a massive stroke on September 2, 2011, which left him hospitalized in extremely critical condition. His restaurant initially released a statement announcing his death; however, this was later confirmed to be false. In fact, at one point his condition was said to be improving.

On September 4, 2011, Selmon died at the age of 56 from complications of the stroke. Visitation was scheduled for the following Thursday at the Exciting Central Tampa Baptist Church. The funeral was held the next day at Idlewild Baptist Church. Former teammates, the current Buccaneer team, the USF football team, other members of the NFL, and the general public attended. The USF football team wore a #63 decal on their helmets for the 2011 season, as did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams conducted a ceremony to honor Selmon the weekend following his death.

 

William Dexter Coakley (born October 20, 1972 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina) is a former linebacker who played 10 seasons in the National Football League. He was a third round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1997 NFL Draft, out of Division I-AA school Appalachian State. Coakley was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011 making him Appalachian State’s first inductee.

Coakley graduated from Wando High School, where he earned four letters in football. He was the team’s Most Valuable Player twice and was twice named all-conference as a safety and was a very productive running back rushing for over 2,000 yards his junior and senior years. He posted 295 tackles in his final two years and also lettered in wrestling.

While at Appalachian State University he grew bigger and was switched to linebacker, becoming the first two time winner of the Buck Buchanan Awards, given each year to the nation’s top Division I-AA defensive player. He was a critical part of the defense on the 1995 Mountaineer team that finished the season unbeaten and untied.

Coakley was named All-American and Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, junior and senior, becoming the first player ever to accomplish this feat. He was also the Southern Conference’s Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior, marking just the seventh time in conference history that one individual had earned that distinction in consecutive years.

His numerous accolades include being second all-time in tackles in Southern Conference history and breaking the all-time solo tackles (616) and sacks records at Appalachian State University, where his jersey number is retired. He earned a degree in communications and advertising.

In 2011 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Southern Conference Hall of Fame.

Coakley dropped in the 1997 NFL Draft, because he was considered an undersized linebacker from a small college. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round. Coakley became the Cowboys starter at weakside linebacker as a rookie and never relinquished the position. His speed and athleticism allowed him to become a playmaker in Cowboys defenses that were built around speed and pursuit. At the end of the season he was named to the NFL All-Rookie team.

In 1999, Coakley made 131 tackles and intercepted four passes, becoming the first Cowboys linebacker to go to the Pro Bowl since Ken Norton Jr. in 1993. Coakley also received the NFL’s “All Iron MVP” award during the 1999 Thanksgiving Day game.

His string of seven consecutive 100-tackle seasons is a franchise record. In addition, he has reached double figures in tackles 37 times in 95 career regular season games. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 1999, 2001 and 2003.

During his eight seasons with the Cowboys, he was a very durable player starting 127 out of 128 games, his only missed game was midway through the 2001 season because of a sprained knee.

Coakley is tied with Dennis Thurman for the club record for defensive touchdowns with four, coming on fumble (one) and interception (three) returns. He is the fourth leading tackler in franchise history with 1,046.

Raymond Clay Childress, Jr. (born October 20, 1962) is a former American football defensive lineman in the NFL for the Houston Oilers from 1985–1996, earning Pro Bowl honors five times.

He shares the NFL record for fumble recoveries in a single game, having recovered three from the Washington Redskins on October 30, 1988. While playing college football at Texas A&M, Childress was twice named an All-American, and he ranks fifth all-time at the university in both career tackles and career sacks. He was recently inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

As a junior, Childress posted 15 quarterback sacks and 117 tackles and was as a First-team All-America in 1983. As a senior in 1984 he was a consensus All-America selection. He was also a two-time All-Southwest Conference pick. As a senior, he anchored an Aggie defense that ranked No. 5 nationally in pass defense (127.5 yards per game). That year, he recorded 124 tackles and 10 sacks. His 25 career sacks was then a school record for a non-linebacker and his 360 tackles then ranked fourth on A&M’s career list. Ray was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in the class of 2010.

Drafted from Texas A&M with the third overall pick in the 1985 draft to play defensive end, Childress moved to defensive tackle in 1990 when defensive coordinator Jim Eddy switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 scheme, necessitating an extra lineman. Childress was already a Pro Bowl end and had even filled in at nose guard on occasion. After the move, he would end up as a Pro Bowl selection in Hawaii four more times as a defensive tackle. As a testament to his excellence, four of the eight lowest single-season rushing totals allowed in Oilers history came between 1990 and 1993, with Childress at tackle.

Childress was not a one-dimensional player—he was as effective against the pass as he was against the run. He finished his Oiler career ranked second all-time in quarterback sacks and sixth all-time in tackles, joining Elvin Bethea as the only defensive linemen among the Oilers’ top 10 in both categories. Childress led or shared the team sack lead from 1986–1989 and finished with the most single-season sacks for a defensive tackle (13) in 1992. For his 11-year career, Childress registered 13 multi-sack games. Childress may be best remembered for coming up with huge plays at crucial moments of games. He had an incredible seven fumble recoveries in 1988, two shy of the NFL single-season record. Three of those came in the Oilers’ memorable 41-17 whipping of the Redskins, broadcast on ESPN October 30, 1988. Childress was the foundation of a remarkable defensive unit saw Houston make seven consecutive playoff appearances. During the prime of his career, he was considered by many to be the best defensive tackle in football. With the Oilers unable to fit his salary in under the newly founded salary cap system, he was forced to play one season as a backup for Dallas in 1996 before retiring. Childress will always be remembered by his fans as not only a star, but also a blue-collar iron man. Until a shoulder separation ended his season (an injury that would thereafter be the determining factor in his decision to retire) in his final season with the Cowboys, Childress missed only 3 non-strike games due to injury, playing 154 games along the defensive line from 1985-1994.

Along with his wife, Kara, Childress established the Childress Foundation in Houston, Texas in 1992. The foundation provides programs to enhance student success, promote productive citizenship through community service, and develop effective life skills. Since its inception, the Childress Foundation has provided over $1.7 million in college scholarships and has benefited more than 1,300 students.

Following his 12 year career in the NFL, Childress served as chairman and CEO for ten years of the Ray Childress Auto Group and a limited partner in the NFL franchise, Houston Texans. RCAG operated the Lawrence Marshall auto dealerships in Houston, Texas and the small town of Hempstead, Texas, approximately fifty miles from Houston, where Childress gained notoriety through television advertisements in which he promised to “clobber big-city prices.” Lawrence Marshall dealerships closed its doors Feb. 4, 2009. The corporation closing can apparently be traced back to the national credit crunch when General Motors and Chrysler Corporation filed for bankruptcy. As car buyers are unable to get loans, dealerships are unable to make sales and are forced to close their doors. Ray recently formed Childress Directional Drilling, LLC.

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