Joseph “Joey” “Gero” Gerolami
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 12, 2024
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Joe Gerolami was, without a doubt, one of the most exciting athletes to ever put on cleats for the Tornadoes of Mount Carmel Area High School. You could feel the electricity in the air whenever Joey touched the football. Nothing described it better, when in 1975, the Tornadoes stopped Berwick on the goal line in a tie game late in the 4th quarter. The very next play, Gero blew through the line and was off to the races on a 99 yard scamper to seal the 20-13 win. Gerolami would average over 45 yards per touchdown over the course of his career, including long range kick off returns of 84 and 85 yards vs Tamaqua and North Schuylkill. Joey was named the Mike Terry Award winner during Big Red’s 31-6 win over Shamokin in 1974 and toted the pigskin 10 times for 137 yards.
In his career, Joe would register 2122 all purpose yards and average 8.8 yards each time he touched the football. Joe still shares the best average kick-off return mark at 39.2 for a season with Bob Zavarick and Bob Veach Sr. His career average of 31.7 is second only to Zavarick. His team would go 29-4-1 during his time and would win the Eastern Conference Championship in 1973 with a 12-0 record. Joe saved the best for last when his 7-3 Tornadoes would defeat the already Southern Division Champion Shamokin Indians by a 34-0 score in his final game with Big Red.
It was as a track athlete that Joey utilized his natural speed to his fullest potential. Joey’s four years running for coaches Breslin and Diminick had the Tornadoes going 45-0 in dual meets, extending the Mount Carmel Area streak to 153 over a 33-year period. They would win 4 Schuylkill League titles, 3 League Meet Championships and 1 District title in 1973 to go with 3 second place finishes. Gero would establish a new MCA record in the 100 yard-dash with his blistering 9.6 seconds established in the District IV meet in 1975, defeating defending District Champion Brian Cooper. The 9.6 not only established a new District IV mark, it also tied the region’s all-time mark set by Pottsville’s Johnny Neyer in 1939 at the state meet. Joe would also claim the District 100-yard title in 1976 and would qualify for the state meet in the 100, 220 and as a member of the 880-yard relay team. Joe did come home with a 6th place medal in the 100, losing to Scott Fitzke, a future Penn State receiver. Gerolami was offered a scholarship at Temple University to run track.
Joe and his wide Sabrina have spent a large portion of their lives raising money for the Nicholas Gerolami Memorial Fund. Their son Nick died in an automobile accident in 1998 and they have organized the Nicholas J Gerolami Golf Tournament in his honor. In the 13 years since its inception, the tournament has raised over $100,000 and has given scholarships to Our Lady of Lourdes’ students, as well as, gifts to the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, Shamokin Area Community Hospital, American Cancer Society, the Shephard’s Table, and many needy children in our area.
Joe and his wife Sabrina live in Paxinos and, in addition to Nicholas, are the proud parents of a daughter Shala. He is the son of Eleanor Gerolami, his “biggest fan”.