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Charlie and Pete Gogolak Named 2015 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award Recipients
The revolutionary kicking brothers and Hungarian Revolution refugees will be recognized at the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City.
Published: 8/12/2015 11:00:00 AM

(Pictured: The NFF announced that former Princeton kicker Charlie Gogolak and former Cornell kicker Pete Gogolak have been named co-recipients of the 2015 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award.)

IRVING, Texas (Aug. 12, 2015)The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today that former Princeton kicker Charlie Gogolak and former Cornell kicker Pete Gogolak have been named co-recipients of the 2015 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award.

“The Gogolak brothers created a lasting legacy as the pioneers of the modern place-kicking motion, and their impact on the game of football has been felt for more than 50 years,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “From humble beginnings, the Gogolaks were raised in Budapest, and the family fled the country during the Hungarian Revolution. With no soccer team at their high school in upper New York State, the two tried out for football, and the rest is history. We are honored to recognize their important contributions to football, as well as their long journey to the U.S., at our Annual Awards Dinner in December.”

First presented in 1974, the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award provides national recognition to those whose efforts to support the NFF and its goals have been local in nature or who have made significant contributions to the game of football either to the manner in which it is played and coached or to the manner in which it is enjoyed by spectators. The Gogolaks become the 39th and 40th recipients of the award.

Born in Hungary, Pete Gogolak began to play soccer at age 13 for the Hungarian Junior National team. However, the family fled the country during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, settling in Ogdensburg, N.Y. The boys enrolled at Ogdensburg Free Academy, and Pete began playing football since the school did not have a soccer team. Charlie starred a few years later as the school’s punter. Pete played offensive and defensive end. He practiced kicking on the side, mastering a soccer-style kick as opposed to the popular toe kick. Pete earned a scholarship to Cornell by sending in a film of him kicking 45-yard field goals. In his first game for Cornell, Pete converted three field goals, including a 49-yarder.

While at Cornell, Pete connected on 54-of-55 extra points, he and set a major college record by connecting on 44 consecutive PATs from 1961-63. He still holds the school record for consecutive conversions and career conversion percentage (.982). His 50-yard field goal against Lehigh in 1963 was the nation’s longest in a major college game at the time. He booted nine career field goals, including eight of 40 yards or more.

Following his graduation from Cornell in 1964, Pete signed with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, bringing his unorthodox kicking style to the professional level. He converted 47-of-75 field goals and 76-of-77 extra points, helping the Bills to two AFL titles in 1964 and 1965. In 1965, he was named Sporting News AFL All-League, and he was selected to the AFL All-Star Game.

Pete became a prime factor in the merger of the AFL and the NFL when he was signed by the NFL’s New York Giants. In nine seasons with the Giants, he set league records for PATs in a game (eight), consecutive PATs made (133), field goals attempted (219) and field goals made (126). Pete also holds Giants’ franchise records for most PATs attempted (277) and PATs made (268). Other kickers began to adopt the new kicking style and by 1973, NFL kickers had increased their field goal percentage to 63.1 percent from 48.6 percent in 1963.

Pete began working at RR Donnelly, a Manhattan based financial printing firm, immediately after his retirement from the NFL, and he served more than 40 years as the vice president of sales. In 1984, he was selected to the Buffalo Bills Silver Anniversary Team. In 2010, the New York Giants announced that he would be included in the team's new Ring of Honor in MetLife Stadium. He is also a member of the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame.

Charlie had never kicked a field goal before he arrived at Princeton, but he sold himself to College Football Hall of Fame head coach Dick Colman. He went on to become a First Team All-Ivy League selection in 1964 and 1965, the first two years the league honored a placekicker, and he was named a First Team All-American in 1965. Charlie converted 16-of-23 field goals in 1965, highlighted by a perfect 6-for-6 performance in a 32-6 win over Rutgers. He kicked a perfect 33-for-33 on PATs in 1965 and 89-for-94 in his career. Charlie finished his career with seven NCAA kicking records and broke his brother Pete’s record by connecting on 50 extra points without a miss.

Charlie became the first placekicker selected in the first round of the NFL Draft when he was taken with the sixth overall pick by the Washington Redskins. In three seasons with the Redskins, he converted 32-of-57 field goals and 72-of-75 extra points. In a 72-41 Redskins win over the Giants in 1966, Pete and Charlie combined for 14 extra points, tied for the most ever in NFL history. Pete played another three seasons with the New England Patriots, converting 20-of-36 field goals and 42-of-42 PATs.

Charlie received his law degree from George Washington University during his Redskins playing days and retired from A.G. Edwards, a Boston based brokerage firm, in 2009. He served on the Princeton admissions committee and the Board of Trustees for the Northeast Harbor (Maine) Library, and he was awarded the Abraham Lincoln Award for Citizenship by the American-Hungarian Foundation. Charlie was also a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club and formerly coached a boys’ soccer team in New Jersey. He was named to the Ivy League Silver Anniversary All-Star Team in 1981 and is a member of Princeton’s All-Century Team.

The Gogolaks will be honored at the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. He will accept his award alongside the recipients of the other NFF Major Awards, including Jim Hawthorne (the recipient of the Chris Schenkel Award for excellence in broadcasting), Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis (the recipient of the John L. Toner Award for excellence in athletics administration) and the yet-to-be-announced recipients of the NFF Gold Medal and the NFF Distinguished American Award. The NFF will also present NFF Legacy Awards to former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and former Big 12 Senior Associate Commissioner for Football Donnie Duncan.

In addition to the presentation of the NFF Major Awards, the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner will provide the stage for the induction of the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class; the presentation of the 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments; and the bestowing of the 26th NFF William V. Campbell Trophy to the nation’s top scholar-athlete.

This year’s College Football Hall of Fame Class includes: Trev Alberts (Nebraska), Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma), Bob Breunig (Arizona State), Sean Brewer (Millsaps [Miss.]), Ruben  Brown (Pittsburgh), Wes Chandler (Florida), Thom Gatewood (Notre Dame), Dick Jauron (Yale), Clinton Jones (Michigan State), Lincoln Kennedy (Washington), Rob Lytle (Michigan), Michael Payton (Marshall), Art Still (Kentucky), Zach Thomas (Texas Tech), Ricky Williams (Texas) and coaches Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Jim Tressel (Youngstown State and Ohio State).  The 2015 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments, will be announced on Oct. 29, and the winner of the Campbell Trophy will be announced live at the event on Dec. 8.

For ticket information regarding the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner, please contact NFF Director of External Relations Will Rudd at 972.556.1000 or wrudd@footballfoundation.com.

Recipients of the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award include:

2015 – Charlie and Pete Gogolak
2014 – Jim Host
2013 – Dennie Poppe
2012 – No honoree
2011 – Verne Lundquist, Brent Musburger
2010 – Dr. Joseph Kearney
2009 – Dan Jenkins
2008 – Bill Battle
2007 – The Collegiate Bowl Games
2006 – ESPN's College GameDay
2005 – Prentice Gautt
2004 – Rick Dickson, Pat Harmon
2003 – Rudy J. Riska
2002 – Dal Shealy
2001 – Thomas C. Hansen
2000 – Tom Nugent
1999 – Chuck Neinas
1998 – Marino H. Casem
1997 – Jack Lengyel
1996 – Robert M. "Scotty" Whitelaw
1995 – Fred Jacoby
1994 – Mike Cleary
1993 – John E. "Buddy" Leake
1992 – Eddie Robinson
1991 – Don B. Canham
1990 – Bill Nicholas
1989 – Bob Woodruff
1988 – Lindsey Nelson
1987 – Chris Schenkel
1986 – Rex Farrior
1985 – A.F. "Bud" Dudley
1984 – No honoree
1983 – Gov. William Winter
1982 – Earnest E. Seiler
1981 – Edward "Moose" Krause
1980 – Field Scovell
1979 – No honoree
1978 – Jack Farcasin
1977 – No honoree
1976 – No honoree
1975 – Joseph J. Tomlin
1974 – Lathrop King Leishman


About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF High School Showcases, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF Faculty Salutes presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF also collaborates with the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to release the FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll; awards The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments and prominently showcased at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club; and bestows several other major awards at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner. NFF corporate partners include the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, the Sports Business Journal and Under Armour. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

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