GVSU athletic director Tim Selgo honored with scholarship

GVL / Courtesy - GVSU Athletics

GVL / Courtesy – GVSU Athletics

Beau Troutman

Grand Valley State Athletic Director Tim Selgo wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary in December, as he was walking through DeVos Center on his way to give an update on Laker athletics to an alumni group — something he’s done often in his 20 years at GVSU.

As he approached the reception hall, he was greeted by two people — Kim Schmidt, the associate director of alumni relations, and a former GVSU football player — who were there to tell him he wouldn’t be giving a typical speech.

“I saw some familiar faces, and (the football alum) says ‘hey, I’ve got to tell you, we lied to you,’” Selgo said.

He was elated to find out that the reception’s true purpose was to announce the addition of a new scholarship dedicated to Selgo himself.

Last fall, Schmidt was approached by two GVSU alumni who wanted to create a scholarship to commemorate Selgo. Schmidt was eager to get the process started, and got enough supporters in just three weeks.

“It was a no-brainer,” Schmidt said. “Tim’s done so much for Grand Valley, so I was honored to do it. He was thoroughly surprised, so that was cool.”

Chris Barbee, the director of alumni relations, says Schmidt’s contributions are a big reason the scholarship happened.

“She’s really been the focal point behind organizing this effort and honoring Tim,” he said.

To keep it a surprise, Schmidt kept the details of the scholarship under wraps, and officially titled it the “anonymous scholarship.” This way, it was kept a surprise, and allowed Selgo to decide who the scholarship would benefit.

The scholarship was named the Tim and Terry Selgo Scholarship, and aids student-athletes who have completed their athletic eligibility, but still have undergrad academic coursework remaining. Student-athletes who demonstrate financial need and meet this criteria are especially who the scholarship aims to benefit.

“It’s very difficult for student athletes to complete their degree requirements in eight semesters and four seasons of eligibility,” Selgo said. “My wife and I wanted to help student-athletes complete their degree, because once they’re done with their sport, they’re no longer on athletic scholarship, and makes it a little bit tougher for them.”

Selgo wanted his wife, Terry, named on the scholarship as well for her role behind the scenes in Laker athletics, as well as the fact that being the wife of a Division II athletic director brings its own set of challenges.

“They make a great team,” Barbee said. “It was very appropriate that the two of them be honored and recognized because if they didn’t work together as a team, it’d be really hard. They work very well together as representatives and ambassadors for Grand Valley.”

The scholarship reached endowment status surprisingly quickly, and will be available to eligible student-athletes this coming fall semester.

During Selgo’s tenure, GVSU has won 10 Learfield Sports/National Association of Directors of College Athletics Director’s Cups, as well as 150 GLIAC titles; triple the amount GVSU had (46) before Selgo took the job as athletic director in 1996.

Once he retires, Selgo says he he’ll still remain involved with some of the organizations he’s with now. He currently serves on the executive board of the West Michigan Sports Commission, and has been named the co-chair of the 2017 State Games of America, which is hosted by the commission. Above all of his retirement activities, though, Selgo said he’ll also be a full time grandpa.

Selgo is honored to have the scholarship commemorate his time at GVSU, and he said the mission of the scholarship embodies the most important part of college athletics—achieving the balance between student and athlete.

“To watch our student-athletes go from immature freshmen to young adults when they leave our program, and to know they’ve learned a great deal by being in our programs, and then to see so many of them as successful alums, that is clearly the most memorable thing that I’ll take from my 20 years as an athletic director,” he said.

Gifts to the scholarship can be made at www.gvsu.edu/giving/selgo.