That lineman’s build wasn’t an accident — Garritano played guard in high school, as well as kicked. When he landed at UNLV on a scholarship, he kept lifting weights with the linemen and loved to compete with them. It took him a year to accept, though, that his days in their trenches were behind him. Once he did, his career as a kicker flourished.
The UNLV Hall of Famer’s name is splashed all over the record book. His 15 points in a game, from a 1992 tilt against Cal State Fullerton, were only eclipsed in 2017. He’s the only UNLV kicker to hit four field goals in a game twice.
But the real excitement was the longball.
On seven attempts from 50 to 59 yards, Garritano converted five, including two in a game against San Jose in front of a costumed crowd on Halloween night in 1994 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Garritano connected on kicks of 51 and 54 yards. After the game was done, San Jose kicker Joe Nedny told Garritano “good luck in the league.” Nedney knew what he was talking about — he went on to a 15-year career in the NFL, kicking for the 49ers, Titans, and others.
The 54-yard blast Garritano repeated two weeks later against the UNR Wolf Pack in a game that sealed the Big West for the Rebels. That sent them to the Las Vegas Bowl, where an ESPN camera crew followed Garritano around during his pregame warmups and introduced him as a “beer-bellied booter.”
“It was pretty neat,” he said. “Not every kid in the country gets the lead on SportsCenter. We all enjoyed it. It was just like anything. Everybody respected me for the ability I had, but on the outside looking in, I was an easy target. Most kickers are all of 5-9, 160 pounds. Obviously, I looked a lot different from everybody else.”