Senior setting records

Robert Burkett

Boom! This last week, just like every week since the beginning of fall practice, the afternoon sky above Yager Stadium was invaded by the sight of footballs sailing through the sky.

For senior kicker Steve Ivanisevic, it’s just another ho-hum day of practice in what has been an impressive season for him. Going into this weekend’s game, Ivanisevic leads Washburn with 35 points total for the season. So far, Ivanisevic’s range hasn’t been challenged, though he feels confident in his abilities.

“I’ve hit from over 50 yards before,” said Ivanisevic.

Ivanisevic earned MIAA player of the week honors on special teams Sept. 14 after making four field goals against Missouri Southern, tying a school record held by three other Washburn kickers: Mike Cassin (1978 vs. Missouri Valley), Dan Brown (1992 vs. Emporia State) and Chad Todd (2000 vs. Wisconsin-LaCrosse). A week prior against New Mexico Highlands, Ivanisevic set another school record by kicking 11 PATs.

The season’s success is just another step of a collegiate career that has spanned three schools and seen success at every level.

From the beginning of his football career in eighth grade all the way through high school, Ivanisevic played a variety of positions, but the kicking game was always where he excelled. His high school endeavors featured a career-high field goal distance of 52 yards, and upon graduation, Ivanisevic made the choice to pursue a collegiate career as a place kicker.

This decision led him to Joliet Junior College, where Ivanisevic made All-Midwest Conference and NJCAA first team All-Region as both a placekicker and punter for JJC during his two-year tenure. While at JJC, Ivanisevic made a career long 53-yard-kick and, in addition as a punter, averaged 38 yards a boot.

After Joliet Junior College, Ivanisevic was recruited to play at Northern Illinois by head coach Jerry Kill, where he redshirted and sat behind another kicker for a year. Feeling that he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play at NIU, Ivanisevic explored other opportunities with coach Kill and came upon the Washburn Ichabods where current head coach Craig Schurig, whom had coached together with Kill at Pittsburg State, was looking for someone to come in and help bolster the special teams unit.

“I really liked the coaching staff when I visited,” said Ivanisevic Other parts of the school including the facilities, academics and the big plans for the football program helped to draw Ivanisevic to Washburn, where he has made a big impact and hopes to continue the momentum he has started to build through both team and individual goals.

“I want to hopefully break the school record for longest kick [52 yards by Russ Hill, 1972] before I leave Washburn, and also win a championship,” said Ivanisevic.

Ivanisevic plans on graduating from Washburn with a degree in general studies and then pursuing a master’s degree in education and hopes to coach sports one day.