In 1966, the Washington Redskins made Charlie Gogolak their No. 1 draft choice the first time ever a kicker had been chosen in that spot -- after he broke every NCAA kicking record the year before at Princeton. But his story goes far beyond being one of the original soccer-style kickers along with his brother, Pete in the NFL.
Charlie was born in Hungary in 1944 where he grew up like most boys playing soccer. In 1956, however, the country revolted against Soviet Communism. In the evening of Oct. 23, units of the State Security Authority fired shots into a demonstrating crowd looking to take over a radio station to voice their positions. By the next day, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest.
The Gogolak family, along with around 200,000 other Hungarians decided to bcome refugees. Around 35,000 wound up settling in the United States, including the Gogolaks. They settled in Ogdensburg, N.Y., where Charlies dad got a job as a doctor in a state hospital.
Both Charlie and Pete were excellent soccer players and played in the elite youth league while in Hungary. But soccer wasnt part of the upper state New York sports vernacular so Charlie spent most of his time at Ogdensburg Free Academy mastering the English language and with his studies and learning the game of football. He did well enough to be accepted into Princeton, his brother into Cornell.
By graduation, Charlie had established himself as one of the best kickers in the nation and the Redskins grabbed him with its No. 1 pick in 1966. He spent three years in Washington and then another three with the Patriots beginning in 1970. Hes been living in Massachusetts ever since.
Football was simply a prelude to a successful career for Charlie. He received his law degree from George Washington University while playing for the Redskins and recently retired from A.G. Edwards after a career in the financial world.
From his experience of escaping revolution as a 12-year-old to adjusting to and learning the American culture, excelling at school and the financial world, Charlie has a lot to offer.
(From the 1972 Patriots Media Guide)
First kicker to be a first round draft choice when Redskins selected him in '66 ... set Washington scoring record with 105 points as rookie ... leg injury in '67 forced tailspin ... picked up by Denver, traded to Pats early in 1970 season ... split kicking duties with Gino Cappelletti in first year ... led club in scoring last year.
Great kicking career at Princeton ... set seven NCAA records, including 50 straight extra points, 81 points in a season, and six field goals in one game ... brother of Giants kicker, Peter.