Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

RIP Michael Siganos

mike-siganos

Sources tell KSR that former Wildcat defensive back and punt returner Mike Siganos passed away on Thursday night. Siganos played for the Cats under Fran Curci from 1974-1977, and in his senior year, earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference and honorable-mention All-America honors while leading the SEC in punt returns. He was second-team All-SEC in 1976 while helping the Wildcats earn a share of the SEC championship and beat North Carolina in the Peach Bowl. He still holds the Kentucky career records for most punt returns in a game (nine), season (43), and career (113). He racked up 10 interceptions in his career, including one in the Peach Bowl against UNC.

Siganos was known as a fearless and dynamic athlete who provided an instant spark on both sides of the ball. After graduation, Siganos played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a Canadian professional team out of Ontario. In 2003, Siganos was named to the Athletic Hellenic Hall of Fame, which honors athletes of Greek descent.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, September 14 in Connecticut at St. Luke’s High School, Mike’s alma mater.

Prayers and thoughts go out to the Siganos family. Please honor Mike by sharing your memories of his time at Kentucky below.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

45 Comments for RIP Michael Siganos



  1. Section133
    2:39 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    He was a great player. He made an interception to seal the victory over UT in 1977.



  2. WestPointCard
    2:44 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Fearless punt returner.



  3. JoDay
    2:49 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I remember Mike.We had season tickets ever year he played. He was fearless, exciting and one of our (my father and mine) favorites.



  4. WestPointCard
    2:52 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Fearless punt returner



  5. Madtex
    2:53 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Too bad this couldn’t have been done when Ralph Kercheval passed away. He was one of the players on the “Ring of Honor” at Commonwealth Stadium.



  6. Madtex
    3:01 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Too bad you couldn’t do this when Ralph Kercheval passed away. His name was on the “Ring of Honor” at Commonwealth Stadium. He was one of the UK greats, espcially at punting – he also played other positions and had a spot on the UK basketball team as a reserve. At his passing he was the oldest living NFL football player.



  7. UK Diehard
    3:08 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    As I recall Mike didn’t know the meaning of fair catch. He would attempt to return a punt even if the opponent was staring him straight in the face. He was absolutely fearless and UK needs more players with his attitude. My prayers go out to his family.



  8. tpb400
    3:11 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I was 13 when Kentucky won the Peach Bowl in 1976. My family had season tickets and I fondly remember the 76 and 77 teams so vividly. Mike was one of those players I talk about to younger fans.
    Also, Madtex…please tell us all a tale of Ralph Kercheval. Too many times the names on a wall become , well just that a name on a wall. Would love to hear something about him.
    This is a day to remember names we honor…



  9. Bobby Blue- Blay
    3:23 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I was nine years old when is saw Mike Siganos play ball at UK. I remember him refusing to call a fair catch when defenders were bearing down on him… He had GUTS !! that is for sure…. Curci had some players that would knock your block off and Siganos was a part of that bunch…



  10. JRA
    3:25 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    absolutely fearless, would as soon run at, as around defenders on punt returns. There were a number of Italian descent players on that team and that team played FEARLESS BALL!



  11. Bobby Blu Blay
    3:42 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Richard Jaffe was another player in the Siganos Fearless Class…



  12. Bob Vincent
    3:42 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Mike was a real quiet guy but really a nice guy. Not to mention being a heck of an football
    player. He was a better man than he was a player.



  13. KSR1080Fan
    3:44 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Tom Leach and Picorro were just talking about
    his fearless punt returning. Had he battling
    a sickness?



  14. Tricky Rick
    3:51 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I was @ UK while Mike played. As mentioned earlier in this thread he was a fearless punt returner and a nice guy.



  15. bigbluedude
    3:56 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    i had heard he committed suicide, dont know any facts though. i do remember watching him, hell of a player



  16. Gus Pickerill
    4:03 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    A line to SI from 1972 Faces In the Crowd about Mike Siganos: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1086864/index.html



  17. Gus Pickerill
    4:04 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    A line to SI from 1972 Faces In the Crowd about Mike Siganos: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1086864/index.htm



  18. Mike Ranney
    4:16 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Mike was the most “Fearless” punt returner i’ve ever seen! I loved to watch him play. I have mentioned him to others many times since he’s been gone from UK.



  19. barn
    4:24 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    9 punt returns. that had to be against vandy. just guessing



  20. BigBlueSkyDog
    4:41 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    We haven’t always had the best football teams but we’ve always had guys like Siganos, Derek Abney, Randall Cobb, and Dickey Lyons Jr. who always played their butts off and left us with all kinds of good memories. This is why we still feel passionate about football. Hope this year’s team finds that guy quickly. RIP Mike Siganos.



  21. Redpup
    5:51 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I was going to school at UK while Mike was there and I seem to remember he was not only a great football player for the cats but he was also a very good student in the classroom. He was a very nice guy. I hate to hear about his passing.



  22. OrangeLot
    6:46 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    He was Little Dicky (Lyons) before Little Dicky was cool. And he loved to carry the football like a loaf of bread.



  23. Cat's Balls
    7:15 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I was a freshman at UK for the 1977 season. I still remember watching Mike catch punts, sometimes with an airbourne guy from the kicking team ready to spear him in the face. I often wondered if anybody had explained to him that the rules allowed him to call a fair catch. RIP.



  24. ed sitzler
    8:38 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    kick-ass tough as nails totally fearless. one of the best players on the best modern era uk team. he was a randall cobb kind of guy with his attitude and approach to playing the game. what he had and randall has is rare and priceless.



  25. ed sitzler
    9:03 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    mike was of greek descent and inducted into the Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.



  26. bob wiley
    9:41 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    Mike Siganos and Paul Calhoun were the best punt returners of that era. Recall one time when the defense was circling the punted ball waiting for it to quit rolling and Siganos swooped in and scooped it up and ran to a good gain. One of my favorites of all time.



  27. tbcat78
    9:55 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    He was a great friend to all that knew him. To know him was to love him. We have lost a great Wildcat!



  28. Young fan
    10:33 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I used to listen on the Radio and my parents went to all the games. My Dad used to talk about how tough and fearless Siganos was.

    Cawood and Ralph confirmed it.

    However I always vot the biggest laugh when Curci talked about him. He seemed to love the kid. The funny thing to my was that Cawood called him Sig a nose



  29. Young fan
    10:33 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I used to listen on the Radio and my parents went to all the games. My Dad used to talk about how tough and fearless Siganos was.

    Cawood and Ralph confirmed it.

    However I always vot the biggest laugh when Curci talked about him. He seemed to love the kid. The funny thing to my was that Cawood called him Sig a nose



  30. Young fan
    10:39 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I used to listen on the Radio and my parents went to all the games. My Dad used to talk about how tough and fearless Siganos was.

    Cawood and Ralph confirmed it.

    However I always vot the biggest laugh when Curci talked about him. He seemed to love the kid. The funny thing to my was that Cawood emphasized the A calling him Sig a nose but Curci would always say Siga nose. Curci had a funny accent and didn’t really sound much like what you think of for a football coach. It was funny



  31. Young fan
    10:39 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I used to listen on the Radio and my parents went to all the games. My Dad used to talk about how tough and fearless Siganos was.

    Cawood and Ralph confirmed it.

    However I always vot the biggest laugh when Curci talked about him. He seemed to love the kid. The funny thing to my was that Cawood emphasized the A calling him Sig a nose but Curci would always say Siga nose. Curci had a funny accent and didn’t really sound much like what you think of for a football coach. It was funny



  32. the big dog
    10:49 pm September 11, 2011 Permalink

    I actually thought of Mike yesterday as we watched Burden fair catch a punt with no defender within ten yards of him. RIP



  33. UKChillFan
    7:51 am September 12, 2011 Permalink

    Mike worked for a short time in Cadiz, KY at the Lake Barkley State Park. I enjoyed getting to know him a little better after having had the pleasure of watching him play. RIP Mike



  34. Kernel Sanders
    11:15 am September 12, 2011 Permalink

    #26 Don’t recall Paul Calhoun returning punts. Actually, he was UK’s punter (and a safety). If he returned punts, he may be the only player ever to both punt and punt return.



  35. bubbahenson
    1:59 pm September 12, 2011 Permalink

    As a classmate of Mike’s at his high school, St. Luke’s, I had the privilege of seeing his magic in the early days before his Wildcats achievements, and learning what a fine person he was. He was the real deal — gifted, instinctive, insanely quick and powerful. But he was also funny, sharp, loyal, and above all, kind. He will be greatly missed, but always remembered; I have no choice in that, I was there. As a note regarding his death, no one really knows how Mike died other than it was in his sleep. He left nothing to indicate otherwise. For anyone who is in the area, there will be a service this Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the First Congregational Church in Norwalk, CT., at 5 pm. I’m sure Mike’s family would welcome and appreciate any Wildcats alumni/former teammates at the service. The eulogy will be given by Mike’s high school coach and mentor, Dick Whitcomb.



  36. timer
    3:53 pm September 12, 2011 Permalink

    I’m saddened by the loss of Mike. I was at UK while he played and he will always be one of my all time favorite UK athletes. I can’t remember him ever calling for a fair catch. I don’t ever remember him fumbling.

    He was absolutely fearless and a lot of fun to watch. His moxie was a big reason for our success during those years.

    RIP Mike.



  37. sillygirl
    9:55 pm September 12, 2011 Permalink

    There really are no words to describe what a dedicated and wonderful man that the world has lost. He loved football, his friends, and his family. Mike was fearless in football, fearless in love and fearless in the way that he lived his life. They don’t make them any better than Sig…



  38. rfromm
    8:34 am September 13, 2011 Permalink

    Mike had a heart as big as Commonwealth Stadium. He was a fearless, gentle warrior. His spirit defined our great teams back in the 70’s. All of his former teammates are saddened by this news and honor his memory.



  39. Robert Watts
    9:03 am September 13, 2011 Permalink

    As a Cat fon for over 50 years, I have seen a lot of great football players come through the university and have had the pleasure to know a few, Mike happened to be one. I didn’t meet Mike until his playing days at UK were over, but he was finishing his classes at UK. Mike moved into the same apartment complex that I was living at, across the hall from me. I helped him bring some things in, we struck a friendship immediately. Mike had a personality unlike anyone, when Mike left to go to Canada, we didn’t get to say goodbye but he left a neatly stacked collection of Wildcat memorabilia at my doorstep. Fortunatly, I had the chance to run into him a couple of times at Commonwealth, the last time was when they brought the Peach Bowl team back. RIP #44 in your program, #1 in your heart.



  40. Robert Keith Watts
    9:13 am September 13, 2011 Permalink

    As a Cat fon for over 50 years, I have seen a lot of great football players come through the university and have had the pleasure to know a few, Mike happened to be one. I didn’t meet Mike until his playing days at UK were over, but he was finishing his classes at UK. Mike moved into the same apartment complex that I was living at, across the hall from me. I helped him bring some things in, we struck a friendship immediately. Mike had a personality unlike anyone, when Mike left to go to Canada, we didn’t get to say goodbye but he left a neatly stacked collection of Wildcat memorabilia at my doorstep. Fortunatly, I had the chance to run into him a couple of times at Commonwealth, the last time was when they brought the Peach Bowl team back. RIP #44 in your program, #1 in your heart.



  41. Robert Keith Watts
    9:15 am September 13, 2011 Permalink

    As a Cat fan for over 50 years, I have seen a lot of great football players come through the university and have had the pleasure to know a few, Mike happened to be one. I didn’t meet Mike until his playing days at UK were over, but he was finishing his classes at UK. Mike moved into the same apartment complex that I was living at, across the hall from me. I helped him bring some things in, we struck a friendship immediately. Mike had a personality unlike anyone, when Mike left to go to Canada, we didn’t get to say goodbye but he left a neatly stacked collection of Wildcat memorabilia at my doorstep. Fortunatly, I had the chance to run into him a couple of times at Commonwealth, the last time was when they brought the Peach Bowl team back. RIP #44 in your program, #1 in your heart.



  42. Charles Jackson
    10:06 am September 13, 2011 Permalink

    I played with Mike on the ’77 team. He was a great athlete as well as a great guy, not to mention a good friend. The last time I saw Mike was at our 30 yr. reunion and he looked good…same ol crazy (laid back) Mike (prankster, etc.) We hung out late that evening at Campbell House/Crowne Plaza Hotel…nice remembrance. He will be missed, and it’s nice to see everyone demonstrating their love. R.I.P. (one-in-a-million)



  43. Charles Jackson
    10:09 am September 13, 2011 Permalink

    I played with Mike on the ’77 team. He was a great athlete as well as a great guy, not to mention a good friend. The last time I saw Mike was at our 30 yr. reunion and he looked good…same ol crazy (laid back) Mike (prankster, etc.) We hung out late that evening at Campbell House/Crowne Plaza Hotel…nice remembrance. He will be missed, and it’s nice to see everyone demonstrating their love. R.I.P. (one-in-a-million)Sig



  44. janis
    6:05 pm September 13, 2011 Permalink

    I worked alongside Mike for 10 years and can attest to all that is written here about what an amazing and upright guy he was. We are all terribly saddened by losing him. Our gym will not be the same without “Mikey” (as i called him — didn’t know about the Sig thing but like it :-). It is hard to believe he has been taken from us way too soon!!!



  45. wally oyler
    3:54 pm September 14, 2011 Permalink

    I coached Mike when he was with the Kentucky Trackers after he played in the CFL. Mike was a fearless player, great receiver, punt returner, but most of all he was a tremendous person. He always had a smile on his face. He also had great work ethics. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mike’s family. We lost a good one! God Bless you.