Zac Selmon named MSU’s new Athletic Director

Published 1:59 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

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STARKVILLE — Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum today [Jan. 13] announced Zac Selmon — the scion of a legendary college football family and a rising star in athletics administration — as MSU’s new Director of Athletics. The appointment follows a national search.

“In seeking a new Director of Athletics, we talked with some of the nation’s very best athletics department administrators,” said Keenum. “After an extensive review of those outstanding candidates, I am convinced that in Zac Selmon we found an outstanding leader with a servant’s heart – a leader who has extensive experience at two Power Five universities and who understands and shares our relentless commitment to achieving and maintaining excellence in our Bulldog athletics programs – all of them.”

As a son and nephew of the famed “Selmon Brothers” (the University of Oklahoma’s Lucious, Lee Roy, and Dewey Selmon of Eufaula, Oklahoma), Keenum said Zac Selmon “grew up with powerful examples of winning at the highest levels and doing so with a deep commitment to sportsmanship and scholarship. Winning and winning the right way is in Zac Selmon’s DNA.”

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Keenum said Selmon’s “servant’s heart” and his relevant Power Five athletics administration experience were “key components” in the appointment of Selmon.

“We’ve talked about the Selmons and their great football legacy. Zac’s experience as a successful student-athlete at Wake Forest is an important component as is his relevant athletics administration experience,” Keenum said. “But I think my focus during the interview process was how seamlessly Zac’s values of family, faith and character align with those of Mississippi State University.”

With his extended family, Selmon has been an active part of a multi-generational effort to bring help and healing to those at home and abroad who struggle with poverty, homelessness, lack of education, and for many, a lack of hope. He and his sister Shannon are co-founders of the Shine Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to serving those in need, especially children, at home and abroad.

Selmon accepted the position as MSU’s 18th athletics director after having an accomplished career at the University of Oklahoma on the executive leadership team. As deputy athletics director for external engagement and advancement, he led OU Athletics’ stakeholder relations including the Sooner Club and annual giving. Selmon provided sport oversight for football and led strategic communications, marketing, licensing, multi-media rights, brand management and fan engagement.

In his previous five-year position as senior associate athletics director for administration and development, Selmon led the fundraising strategy for OU Athletics’ $200 million capital campaign, setting annual giving records in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, philanthropic giving reached its highest in university athletics history.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity and a professional journey that I’m ready to begin,” said Selmon. “I want to thank Dr. Keenum for his confidence in me. I’m grateful to my family for preparing me from an early age to work hard and trust in God. I have a deep and abiding respect for Mississippi State’s traditions and the role this university plays in taking care of what matters in this state and nation. My family and I are eager to join the Bulldog family.”

Along with his celebrated family, Zac Selmon has learned from and worked for two well-known and respected university athletics directors—North Carolina’s Bubba Cunningham and OU’s Joe Castiglione. He served as associate athletics director and special assistant to Cunningham at UNC before heading west to OU to join Castiglione as senior associate athletics director, chief of operations, in 2015.

At Wake Forest University, Selmon not only became a four-year starter at tight end for the Demon Deacons, but a dean’s list scholar graduating in 2007 with a degree in religion and international studies. He also holds a 2010 OU master’s degree in education with an emphasis in intercollegiate athletics administration.

Selmon and his wife Rachel have two daughters, Shayne and Rylee.

Keenum thanked Interim Athletics Director Bracky Brett for his service: “The continued success MSU has enjoyed during the search would not have been possible without the steady hand, hard work and wisdom of Bracky Brett. Our university, our fan base, owes you a tremendous debt of gratitude.” Brett, a 20-year veteran administrator at MSU, serves as executive senior athletics director for compliance.

What They’re Saying About Zac Selmon

“We are so thrilled for and proud of Zac Selmon. What a spectacular hire by Dr. Keenum and Mississippi State University. It’s been a true privilege to have Zac on our staff from his beginnings as a graduate assistant to his current role as deputy AD. We know he will be a visionary leader for MSU and the SEC. He’s genuine and authentic and helps make everyone around him better. We will definitely miss Zac, Rachel, Shayne and Rylee (“Meatball”), but know their family will be loved in Starkville, like they are here. We congratulate Zac and express our sincere gratitude for all he has done to help our student-athletes, stakeholders and the University of Oklahoma be better.”

– Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma Athletics Director