By JOHN SHINN
Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard was named the 2013 Lee Roy Selmon Spirit Award winner by the Premier Players group in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday.
The award is given annually to the college football player who best represents the qualities of character that Selmon — the late OU All-American and NFL Hall of Famer — displayed with an emphasis on academic excellence and a commitment to community service.
The honorees are selected by members of Selmon’s immediate family, his wife Claybra, and sons, Lee Roy Jr. and Christopher.
“To receive this award from the Selmon family is truly humbling,” Ikard said in statement. “Particularly for a native Oklahoman like myself, to be the first individual from the University of Oklahoma to be recognized for representing everything that the Selmon family stands for is one of the most meaningful honors of my career.”
Selmon, a consensus All-American for OU in 1975 and an All-American in 1974, shared his name with this award prior to his death in Sept. 2011, from complications of a stroke. At the time of his death, Selmon was serving as president of the University of South Florida Foundation Partnership for Athletics. He had previously served as an assistant director of athletics at USF from 1993-2001 and USF director of athletics from 2001 until 2004.
In addition to the All-America honors he earned, Selmon received the Vince Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy, National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, CoSIDA Academic All-American and Graduate Fellowship Winner National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
“This was an award that Lee Roy was pleased to have his name attached to,” Claybra Selmon said. “For Lee Roy, it was what he did off the field, particularly in regards to academics and service to others in the community, that was most important.
“This award continues to be so precious and very important to our family because the winners represent the things that Lee Roy considered the most important things in his life.”