A memorial service will be held Wednesday in Norwalk, Conn., for Mike Siganos, a fearless punt returner and defensive back on the best Kentucky football team in half a century, who passed away last week at the age of 56.
Born in Wilson, N.C., Mr. Siganos grew up Norwalk, where he was a star at St. Luke's High School. In 1972, Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd feature recognized Mr. Siganos, saying "a junior halfback at St. Luke's School in New Canaan, Conn., led the Crusaders to an unbeaten record in nine games. He averaged 10.2 yards rushing for 98 carries, caught 12 passes for 391 yards and a 32.5-yard average and scored 104 points." As a senior, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound running back scored 27 touchdowns to lead St. Luke's to an 8-1 record.
He came to UK and was a four-year letterman from 1974-77 under Fran Curci. He earned first-team All-SEC and honorable mention All-America honors as a defensive back in 1977 after UK went 10-1 and finished No. 6 in the final AP poll.
Mr. Siganos holds the UK record for most career punt returns with 113, most punt returns in a game with nine and in a season with 43. While rarely if ever calling a fair catch, Mr. Siganos' signature move was to hold the ball with one hand on returns.
He also finished with 10 career interceptions. As a freshman in 1974, Mr. Siganos returned an interception for a touchdown in UK's 30-7 win over Tulane. He had an interception in the 1976 Peach Bowl when Kentucky beat North Carolina 21-0, holding the Tar Heels to just 108 yards of total offense. He also had a key interception that set up a touchdown in UK's 24-20 win over Penn State in University Park in 1977.
After college, he played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. In 1990, he was selected to UK's "All Century Football" team which celebrated the program's centennial year of football. He was also inducted into the St. Luke High School Hall of Fame.
A personal trainer, Mr. Siganos had most recently worked for the New York Sports Club. Wednesday's memorial service will be at 5 p.m. at First Congregational Church in Norwalk. Memorial contributions may be made to the Michael Siganos Scholarship Fund at St. Luke's High School through Cyril F. Mullins Funeral Home, 399 White Pains Road, Trumbull, CT 06611.