Posted on: September 2, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 11:52 am

Lee Roy Selmon hospitalized after stroke

Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon remained in "critical condition" at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Fla, on Saturday, a day after suffering a stroke.

David Lewis, a former Tampa Bay Bucs teammate of Selmon's told The Tampa Tribune, that Selmon was showing signs of improvement and was breathing on his own. Selmon was able to squeeze the hand of his son, Lee Roy Jr., and recognized family members, including older brothers Lucious and Dewey, who flew from Oklahoma to Tampa on Friday, Lewis told the Tribune.

Selmon suffered a stroke in his home on Friday, University of South Florida spokesperson Michael Hoad said. A nursing supervisor at St. Joseph's Hospital said Saturday morning Selmon was in critical condition.

On Friday evening, WTSP-Ch. 10 in Tampa, Fla., quoting three unnamed sources, incorrectly reported that Selmon had died. Soon afterwards, a spokesperson with Selmon's restaurant released a statement expressing "deepest and most profound sorrow that we learned of our dear friend Lee Roy Selmon's passing this afternoon."

Then WTSP-Ch. 10 retracted its report and reported Dewey Selmon told the station Lee Roy was on life support and making progress.

Oklahoma spokesperson Kenny Mossman also posted on Twitter that Selmon was in fact still alive: "Just talked to Selmon family. Lee Roy has not passed away as of [7:37 ET]."

An hour after the restaurant released the statement, the spokesperson at Selmon's restaurant apologized and said the statement had been "prematurely released."

Selmon is 56. He was an All-American at the University of Oklahoma before being drafted as the No. 1 pick of the Tampa Bay Bucs in 1976, playing nine seasons until retiring because of a back injury.

After his playing days with the Bucs ended, he remained in Tampa. He was formerly an assistant athletic director and then athletic director at the University of South Florida until stepping down in February 2004 because of high blood pressure. Before resigning Selmon took a six-week sabbatical in January 2004 because of "heart" and "stress related" problems, Dewey Selmon told me.

Selmon, who played a big part in the start up of football at USF in 1997, has been president of USF's Foundation Partnership for Athletics since 2004. His name is on a chain of restaurants in the Tampa Bay area and a Tampa crosstown expressway is named after him.

He is the only Buccaneer to have his number retired and the first player inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 7:42 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Fiesta Bowl likely on the move - to Jan. 2, 2012

The Fiesta Bowl likely is moving – to another date.

The game could be moved up three days to Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 at 8:30 ET, sources told CBSSports.com.

Because of the uncertainty of the NFL lockout earlier this summer, the BCS only scheduled the Rose Bowl on Monday, Jan. 2, 2010 (5 p.m. ET) and didn’t schedule a game that night in case the NFL regular season schedule was pushed back a week and was required to play that night.

However, with the lockout settled and the NFL regular season schedule remaining the same – it ends on Jan. 1, 2012 – the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls were given the opportunity by the BCS to move one of their games up to Monday night, Jan. 2.

The Sugar, which also hosts the BCS title game on Jan. 9, 2012, had the first opportunity but decided to remain on its original date of Jan. 3, 2012. The Orange also turned down an opportunity to move off Jan. 4, 2012.

The Fiesta Bowl, originally scheduled for Jan. 5, 2012, wants to make the move to Jan. 2, 2012, because it would draw higher television ratings by having a Rose Bowl lead-in game compared with playing on a Thursday night. Also since Jan. 2, 2012 is recognized as a holiday, it would be more easier for visiting fans to attend.

A Fiesta Bowl spokesman declined comment on the expected move.

The Arizona Republic reported the holdup whether the Fiesta Bowl will be moved depends on if the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, who host the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 1, will waive part of its stadium rights for crews to transform the stadium immediately after the game for the Fiesta Bowl. A Cardinals spokesman said told the Republic the Cardinals want to explore ways to make it happen. The NFL game is now scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Ironically, all three BCS bowl games that had the option to move also are hosting NFL games on Jan. 1. The N.Y. Jets play at Miami at Sun Life Stadium, Carolina visits New Orleans in the Louisiana Superdome and the Seahawks play the Cardinals in Glendale.

Here is the BCS bowl schedule if the Fiesta Bowl moves as expected:

Monday, Jan. 2, 2012–Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., 5 p.m. ET
Monday, Jan. 2, 2012–Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., 8:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012–Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, 8:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012–Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, 8 p.m. ET
Monday, Jan. 9, 2012–BCS title game in New Orleans, 8:30 p.m. ET

Posted on: June 5, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 9:05 am

Hey Tom: You will be missed

TAMPA, Fla. – This blog usually deals with issues, news or a multitude of other items about college football or basketball. Today, sadly, it does not.

Instead it’s my opportunity to publicly thank Tom McEwen. For those not familiar with the Tampa Bay sports scene, you might not have heard of or ever dealt with McEwen, the former sports editor of The Tampa Tribune. Believe me, that was your loss.

Tom McEwen died Sunday morning. He was 88.

What Tom did for Tampa as a city never can be fully appreciated. Quite simply: If not for Tom, Tampa would have never been awarded an NFL franchise (and then most likely Tampa Bay would have also been bypassed by Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League if the Bucs weren’t here). Not only do the Bucs owe Tom for their existence, but so do the Rays and Lightning. Tom also was instrumental in Tampa getting three Super Bowls.

Without Tom, Tampa would be Orlando – without the NBA franchise and the traffic.

Lee Roy Selmon is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he was one of the most dominating defensive linemen of his era. But it’s no secret Selmon is in the Hall of Fame because Tom made it a priority to get Selmon in the Hall of Fame. Selmon deserved to be in it, but without Tom's impassioned speech to the Hall of Fame voters, Selmon may never have received the necessary votes to get in.

That’s one thing I learned while I had the privilege to work for Tom at the Tribune: When Tom wanted something to get done, it did.

The best thing about Tom is he was always there for you. He was arguably one of the most powerful, influential individuals in the sports world yet he treated every one he knew the same. He never big-timed anyone and was always willing to help however possible.

Several of my former co-workers at the Tribune would joke that whenever we covered an event  -- no matter where in the world it was -- when you mentioned you were from Tampa, the first response most of the time was: “Do you know Tom McEwen? How is my buddy Tom doing?”

Joey Johnston, who wrote this wonderful piece on Tom, was on the West Coast several years ago. He had gone through all the proper channels/PR types to set up an interview with Al Davis, but was denied each time. Johnston, though, happened to run into Davis at the Raiders’ facility and mentioned he worked with Tom. Al Davis immediately welcomed Johnston into his office and gave him all the time he needed. The power of Tom.

That is only one example of what made Tom so special. The man who was best friends with George Steinbrenner; who former Bucs coach John McKay once called “A--hole,” to which McEwen replied “That’s Mr. A--hole;” who won the Red Smith Award and was a record 19-time Florida Sportswriter of the Year but was never too big to help out the little guy. I mean how many other big city sports editors had their home numbers listed in the phone book?

Even Steve Spurrier said he owed his coaching career to McEwen

He was always great with a quip. He gave me this gem for my New York Times story in February on Derek Jeter’s monstrous 30,875-square-foot Tampa home, located a mile south of McEwen on Hillsborough Bay.

“I just think [Jeter’s home] is wonderful,” McEwen said. “I haven’t heard any complaints about it. My view is just as good as Jeter’s — there’s just not as much of it.”

When I joined CBSSports.com a couple of weeks ago, Tom and his wife, Linda, were among the first to send me an email congratulating me on my new job. Battling cancer, Tom’s health had been deteriorating the past few years. Last year a group of the Tribune’s former and current sports writers met at his Davis Islands home. We had lunch, talked about old times, traded old stories and laughed. Boy, did we laugh.

It was our small way to show our appreciation for Tom and what he’s meant to us. So “Hey Tom,” thanks for everything. This short piece doesn’t do justice for what you meant to Tampa or to me. I would not be where I am today if not for Tom -- so you have him to thank or blame for that.

Several years ago, Tampa named a street next to Raymond James Stadium “Tom McEwen Boulevard.”

Perhaps in his honor for one day they should call the city Tompa because it really does owe him that much. Come to think of it, those of us that were fortunate enough to work with also him owe him so much.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com