In Their Words is a weekly feature appearing Sundays in The Blade sports section. Blade sports writer Maureen Fulton talked with Tim Selgo, who played and coached basketball at the University of Toledo before going on to become athletic director at Grand Valley State University.
Tim Selgo was part of the most successful period in UT men's basketball history. Now he's leading an athletic department that's taken the same path as his former Rockets teams.
A native of Pettisville, Ohio, Selgo has been the athletic director at Grand Valley in Allendale, Mich., for the last 12 years. The school has dominated its conference for a decade, and, for the last five years, has won the United States Sports Academy Directors' Cup as the top athletic program in Division II. In 2007, Selgo was named the central region athletic director of the year.
Selgo coached the UT women's basketball team for three years and was an associate athletic director there for eight years. Selgo was inducted into the UT athletic hall of fame in 2001.
As a basketball player, Selgo was an extremely accurate shooter. Playing from 1976-80, he shot 83.9 percent from the free throw line. He holds the school record with an 86.1 percent free throw shooting mark in Mid-American Conference games. Selgo also averaged 53.1 percent shooting from the floor.
He played guard and averaged 7.4 points and 3.5 assists in his 107-game career. His best year was his senior season in 1979-80, when he averaged 13 points and 5.9 assists. Selgo was named second-team All-MAC that year and was chosen three times for the academic All-MAC team in his playing career.
But most won't remember Selgo's individual contributions, only that he played on back-to-back NCAA tournament teams. The Rockets advanced to the second round in 1979 with a win over Iowa. In Selgo's final game, he scored 18 points in UT's 94-91 loss to Florida State in 1980.
The Rockets had an 87-26 record in Selgo's four years. He holds the school record for minutes in a game with 61 in a five-overtime win over Central Michigan in 1978.
After graduating with a degree in physical education, Selgo was a graduate assistant under his former coach, Bob Nichols, while earning a master's degree in education administration. He was an assistant coach for the men's team from 1982 until 1985, when he was named the head women's basketball coach.
Selgo held a record of 33-49 in his three years coaching the women's team.
"I feel good about the three years I was there," he said. "The record is not great, but it was major rebuilding."
Selgo then decided to get into administration and was in charge of the day-to-day operations of UT sports. He also had a big role in marketing and promotion.
On Feb. 12, 1996, Selgo was hired at Grand Valley State. The school is well known nationally for its football program but also has top-five teams in women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, women's golf, men's track, volleyball, and men's basketball. In addition to its five straight Directors' Cups, Grand Valley also has won 10 straight President's Cups, the award for the top athletic program in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Selgo and his wife, Terry, have three children - Jennifer, Rachel, and Daniel.
"COACH NICHOLS OFFERED me a scholarship, and growing up in the area I was well aware of the great program he had. At the time I was interested in becoming a coach myself, and I thought there would be no better place to go to learn basketball and how to coach basketball. I couldn't have asked to play for a better coach than coach Nichols. I learned an awful lot about college athletics those years.
"Taking over the women's program wasn't that big of a transition. It offered me the opportunity to become a head coach, and I didn't have to move my family. I felt that at that time I was well-suited to coaching women's basketball. It was a rebuilding job and another great learning experience to prepare me for what I'm doing today. I'm very proud of the success that the women's program went on to have.
"CHARLIE SNYDER HAD been the associate athletic director. When he retired I was just about to turn 30. I had spent seven years coaching at the college level and knew all the time the recruiting involved being away from home. I thought I'd be well suited for administration. I was very fortunate that I was able to get into college coaching at a very young age and able to get into administration at a young age, younger than most. My career path has been blessed.
"I was the associate AD at Toledo for eight years. Those eight years were a great experience for me. I learned an awful lot as a student, and the years as administrator prepared me well for this job. I had a sense when I got here there was potential to do a lot better. I kind of happened to be the right guy at right time to be honest with you. Grand Valley was taking off as a school, making the transition from commuter to residential.
"WE'RE PRETTY PROUD of our entire program. I got here in 1996. It wasn't until 1999 that we won our first President's Cup, the conference all-sports trophy. That was the first time we had won that in 20 years. We've won 10 in a row. We've found a good deal of success, and our approach is to stay humble and keep working hard.
"My primary job here is to work at keeping our coaches here. We've gotten very good support. We've had three different presidents since I've been here. All three have been outstanding leaders. They care about what we do. I would bet at least four or five nights or days during the weekends I'm at sporting events, but that's part of athletic administration. Fortunately here we've been very successful and most of our teams go on to postseason play. The games are the fun part of our jobs."
Contact Maureen Fulton