Featured Alumni & Friends--Mike Scifres
San Diego Charger Mike Scifres played at Western Illinois from 1998-2002, graduating in 2002 with a communications and broadcasting degree. As a Leatherneck, he was a Division I-AA All-America during his sophomore and senior years. He was also a three-time first-team all-conference...only finalist from I-AA for '02 Ray Guy Award after second in nation with 48.0 average...National Player of Week four times by Football Gazette...Gateway Conference Special Teams Player of Week twice as a senior...conference and Sports Network Player of Week three times as a sophomore...I-AA Special Teams Player of Week after school and conference-record 89-yard punt vs. Southwest Missouri State in '00...holds the school-record 56-yard field goal (first of career) vs. Northern Iowa as time expired in 44-41 win for '00 conference title...All-Newcomer as redshirt frosh in '99.
Scifres boomed his way into the Chargers' record books in 2012. Already the team's record-holder for career punting average (45.3), Scifres was voted the team's Special Teams Player of the Year two seasons ago after setting a new team record with an average of 48.3 yards per punt, a mark that shattered the previous high of 46.7, which he set back in 2010. And thanks to the Chargers' outstanding coverage units, Scifres posted a 40.6-yard net average in 2012, second in the franchise's 53-year history. Scifres also maintained his grip as the NFL's most accurate punter of all time. In 2012, he dropped 30 of 81 punts inside the 20 (37.0%).
Scifres was drafted by the Chargers in 2003 at the recommendation of Kyle Smith, the son of former Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith. As a freshman at Youngstown State, Smith had returned punts against Scifres, who played for Missouri Valley Conference foe, Western Illinois. He spent his first season learning behind Chargers Hall of Fame punter Darren Bennett and then took over full-time punting duties in 2004. Since then, Scifres has become a member of the Chargers' 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, a six-time Pro Bowl alternate (2004-09) and a two-time Chargers Special Teams Player of the Year. To put his career into historical context, Scifres has punted 573 times and among punters with at least that many attempts, his gross average (45.3) ranks fourth and his net average (38.5) ranks fifth. Complete punting statistics that include opponent returns and touchbacks only date to 1976, but since those statistics have been kept, Scifres' 244 returns against are the second-fewest and his 52 touchbacks are the third-fewest. (Source: San Diego Chargers web site)
To read more on Scifres, visit the San Diego Chargers web site.