Search the Bulletin

Selverian Name Synonymous with Swarthmore Athletics

By Mark Anskis, athletic communications director


The brothers Selverian, Michael '16 (left) and Steve '13 are continuing the dynasty of which their father, Jeff '86 (right) was a key part. Photo by Laurence Kesterson

Seventeen straight years during which one or more brothers wore Garnet and White jerseys was just the beginning for the “first family” of Swarthmore athletics. The six Selverian brothers from South Jersey—Rich ’84, Jeff ’86, Mark ’89, Greg ’91, Art ’93, and Kurk ’97—fueled some of the most decorated football teams in the history of College sports. Now, 15 years after Kurk graduated, the dynasty is gearing up for a resurgence—only this time it’s playing out on the lacrosse field.

When Steve ’13 and Michael Selverian ’16 don uniforms this fall, it will mark the first time two Selverians have done so since Greg and Art played football in 1990. Steve and Michael are the sons of Jeff ’86, the football program’s all-time leader in career touchdowns (18) and single-season touchdowns (11).

“I’m very proud and honored that Steve and Mike are being given the opportunity to attend Swarthmore,” says Jeff, who looks like he could still rush for a touchdown if you strapped the pads on him. “I know from my experience that, at Swarthmore, they are assured to receive an excellent education through the diversity and intelligence of their fellow students and faculty.”

A former lacrosse player who played on the Garnet’s 1985 MAC championship team, Jeff says there was never any pressure on Steve or Michael to attend the College.

“I encouraged both to go to the best school they could possibly go to. That school just happened to be Swarthmore,” Jeff says with a chuckle. “Everything just sort of worked out.”

In his first three years at the College, Steve—the oldest of Jeff’s four children—had no trouble living up to his family’s esteemed reputation. A McCabe Scholar and two-time member of the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll, Steve has been a top lacrosse player for the last three seasons. As a midfielder known for his versatility and work ethic, he scored 11 goals during the 2012 season. A highlight was the triple overtime game-winner against rival Haverford, during which the Garnet secured its first win over the rival Fords since 2004.

Steve is eager to wear the Swarthmore uniform with his brother next season, just as his father and uncles did before him.

“It’s going to be an awesome experience,” Steve says. “We played on the same ice-hockey and lacrosse teams in high school (Garnet Valley in Glen Mills, Pa.) when he was a freshman and I was a senior, and those seasons were outstanding. I expect nothing less next year.”

For Michael, however, his family’s legacy at the school almost became a reason to shy away from attending the College.

“I always thought that I wanted to do something different,” says Michael, who plans to major in biology just like his older brother. “But after talking with my family more and more, I got to feeling how much the place meant to them and how much it would mean to everyone if I continued the legacy.”

Steve and Michael’s grandparents, Stephen and Sandra Selverian, are two of the people to whom the legacy means the most. After all, they had a front row seat for the first 17 years of the Selverian legacy.

“We are very, very proud,” says Sandra. “We never expected to see six sons in one college, but it certainly did work out that way. We are equally proud to have two grandsons there. We think the world of the College.”

Now splitting time between homes in New Jersey and Florida, Stephen and Sandra have followed grandson Steve’s lacrosse games faithfully through live video broadcasts on the athletics website.

“We were quite a football family, but now we are going into a new phase as a lacrosse family,” says Stephen.
He issues a warning for those assuming that this second Selverian dynasty will not have the longevity of the first.

“There are more in the stream,” he says, referring to the many Selverian grandchildren—children of the original dynasty—who are high-school aged with the College on their radar.

Sounds like the first family of Swarthmore athletics plans for an even longer reign this time around.

Comments are closed.