Today is a great day to wish a Wolverine Happy Birthday to Ali Haji-Sheikh who was born on this day in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ali went on to become one of Bo’s most famous kickers. Haji-Sheikh is shown above booming another kickoff for Michigan in 1982. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.
Ali Haji-Sheikh was born in Ann Arbor, but he actually grew up in Arlington, Texas. He became an outstanding high school football place-kicker and soccer player. Interestingly, Ali was also wide receiver and defensive back in high school. Unfortunately, he wasn’t good enough to get Bo’s attention in high school.
Haji-Sheikh decided to return “home” in 1979 and “walk-on” to the Michigan Football team. Finally, Ali got Bo’s attention and was Michigan’s full-time placekicker by the end of the 1979 season.
Like all kickers, Ali Haji-Sheikh had a lot of made field goals, but he also missed some too! Yes, he had some “hero” moments and some “zero” ones as well. It comes with the territory. Ali was a talented kicker who could boom his kickoffs and consistently make his extra points attempts. In fact, he set a Big Ten and Michigan record for consecutive PATs in 1982 with seventy-six straight over the course of two seasons.
Ali led Michigan in scoring in his senior year with seventy-seven points. He kicked twelve field goals (15 attempts) and added forty-one PATs. He still holds the record for most PATs in one game when he converted ten of ten in a 70-21 win over Illinois. Ali tied a Michigan record when he made eleven field goals in one season in 1980. He broke his own record in 1982 with those twelve made field goals in 1982.
Haji-Sheikh had two huge games against Michigan’s two biggest rivals in 1980. He made three goals against MSU which helped Michigan win by a score of 27-23. Ali scored all of Michigan’s points in a 9-3 win over OSU at Columbus! He set the Michigan record for career PATs in 1982 with 117. Ali now stands fifth on the all-time list. He is also number six on the all-time list for field goals made with 31.
So, today is a great day to remember Ali Haji-Sheikh and appreciate his contributions to Michigan Football History. He helped the Wolverines win two Big Ten Championships (1980 and 1982) and thirty-five games from 1979 to 1982. He earned four varsity letters and left “home” with his head held high. Yes, Ali, the “walk-on,” turned out to be one of the best kickers in Michigan Football History. Ali also went on to a five-year NFL career with the New York Giants and two other teams. Happy Birthday Ali Haji-Sheikh and Go Blue!
Today is the first day of the year that celebrates one of our fifty states. Yes, today is Arkansas Day. It is also National Milk Day and Step in the Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day. So, there are lots of fun things to enjoy.
On a more serious note, today is also Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Unfortunately, human trafficking is a world-wide problem that continues to violate the rights of innocent people. We need to support the efforts of human rights activists and law enforcement officials who are trying to solve this difficult problem.
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