Brian Selman, like many athletes from Birmingham’s Vestavia Hills High School, learned from two of the best. And each, in his own way, prepared Selman for the world of college football and Nick Saban. Both men – Rebels’ Football Coach Buddy Anderson and the late Sammy Dunn, who coached Vestavia to numerous baseball titles – are known in their respective sports as two of the best in the business.
“I learned a lot from Coach (Sammy) Dunn that prepared me for Coach (Nick) Saban,” mused Brian Selman, (6-0, 211) who is entering his third season as the Crimson Tide’s long-snapper. “His baseball practices were very intense, and very detail-oriented, like Coach Saban’s football practices. Coach Dunn really, really meant a lot to me not just as a coach but as a person. He was like another father.”
Dunn succumbed to cancer in October, 2004, at the young age of 52. He lost his wife to the same disease nine years before that, and was strongly considered for the Alabama baseball job, but pulled his name out of contention with then Alabama AD Cecil “Hootie" Ingram to stay closer to his wife in her final days.
Selman, a senior this year, also played football for the no-frills, conservative Anderson, though not much. “I didn’t play much at all until my senior year, and then I only started as long-snapper. The center ahead of me on offense graduated with me, and now he’s the starting center at UAB, my buddy Jake Seitz.
“The long-snapper ahead of me was UAB’s snapper and he graduated last year, Jeff Hamby, so I only started my senior year.”
Selman said Anderson, like Saban, believes in toughness, physicality, field position and smart football.
This is Selman’s third year as starting long-snapper, all under Saban, but he began his Tide career under the Mike Shula staff and Special Teams Coach Dave Ungerer.
Selman said, “I made some phone calls, and talked to Coach Ungerer, and he explained to me about how the walk-on program worked. I sent some tape, and they accepted me as a walk-on snapper.”
Long-snappers are rarely noticed unless they mess up, and Selman is rarely noticed. Consider his career achievements thus far at The Capstone:
He has played in 28 career games and started 27 consecutive games dating back to the start of the 2007 season, and is perfect on his snapping chances during the first three years of his career, which includes 272 opportunities over the past two seasons. He won the Bear Bryant Outstanding Non-Scholarship Award following 2009 spring practice, and is a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection.
Academics have always been important for Selman, who earned the scholar-athlete award at Vestavia Hills his senior year.