by Mike Magers
Roy Gerela’s first connection with New Mexico is when he came to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Prior to that, he had lived in Hawaii, graduating from Kalani High School in Honolulu. Roy relates that he never regularly kicked in high school, occasionally doing some punting and kickoffs when called on to do so. His first two years at NMSU, he played defensive back and his junior year endeavored to try kicking soccer style.
Following his years at New Mexico State he was selected in the fourth round of the 1969 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers, then of the American Football League, the last season before the AFL merger into the NFL. Before the 1971 season, Gerela signed with the Pittsburg Steelers where he led the American Football Conference in scoring in 1971 and 1974 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1972 and 1974. He would remain with the Steelers for eight season. He played one more partial season with the Chargers until an injury forced his retirement just into the 1979 season. While he was a Steeler, his club won the Super Bowl three times. In all, he played two seasons with the Oilers, eight seasons with the Steelers and a final season with the Chargers.
His pro record is as follows. He appeared in 145 games, made 184 field goals out of 306 attempts, made 351 out of 365 points after touchdown. He also punted one season with the Oilers and made one punt with the Steelers. In all, he punted 42 times for about a 40.4 yard average. He scored 903 points in his career. During the years 1972 to 1975, he was named to the first or second team All Pro a total of 14 times.
Following his retirement, he pursued his school and college coaching and worked for a few years as a college and high school assistant coach before taking the head coach position at Gadsden. He came back to the area from Pittsburg to serve as a tight end and special teams coach for Jim Hess, his old coach at New Mexico State, where he would remain for another six years. During this period, he got his Master’s Degree from NMSU and also taught in high school, which he enjoyed. He returned another few years to serve as an assistant with then coach Hal Mumme. He was encouraged to take the head coaching job at Gadsden High School and subsequently coached for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. At this writing, he has retired from coaching and is now living in Las Cruces.
To learn more, please see Roy Gerela’s NFL statistics.