Colorado place kicker James Stefanou has decided to retire from the game, the school announced on Monday.
The oldest player in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Stefanou, 33, informed head coach Karl Dorrell of his decision on Monday.
“James feels that he can no longer physically perform as well as he would like and has decided to end his career,” Dorrell said in a press release from the school. “He has been a valuable member of the team for three years, and we understand why he has made this choice. We certainly wish him nothing but the best.”
A native of Australia, Stefanou came to CU in 2017 after nearly a decade of playing professional soccer and has been the Buffs’ primary kicker the past three years, but has continued to battle injuries. He missed time the last two seasons with a hip injury.
Stefanou had surgery on his hip this past offseason and said he was feeling better than ever coming into the season. In Saturday’s season-opening 48-42 win against UCLA, Stefanou went 5-for-5 on extra points in the first half and handled early kickoff duties.
He then missed both field goal attempts – including one that was blocked – and was replaced by sophomore Evan Price. Dorrell said after the game that replacing Stefanou wasn’t based on performance.
“There was a little bit of a nick with James,” Dorrell said. “He had some issues that we felt we had to make a change and we were able to do that with Evan.”
Stefanou finishes his career with 199 points, ranking eighth all-time at CU and fourth among kickers. His extra point percentage (.990, 97-of-98) is the best in school history and his field goal percentage (.694, 34-of-49) is fourth. He ranks third in most successful extra points (97) and fifth in field goals (34).
Price now takes over as the Buffs’ top kicker. He has filled in for Stefanou at times the past two years and is 11-for-13 in his career on field goals (both misses were blocked) and 11-for-11 on extra points. He went 2-for-3 on field goals against UCLA.
On Monday evening, Stefanou posted a statement on his Twitter account expressing his gratitude to CU and Buffs fans.