Youngstown Ohio: Poor Economic Status, Rich Football Tradition


Next time you are in a heated football discussion with a stranger or enjoying a ice cold Natty with your buddies watching a game and you decide to play the “my hometown is better than your hometown” showdown, I have your trump card if you are from Youngstown. While most of us yell out Jim Tressel, Bob Stoops, Bo Pelini, Mike Stoops, Ron Jaworski, or Paul MacGuire to brag about the 20+ years of football excellence, national championships, conference titles, etc. I would like to introduce you to someone most people have never heard of, Dwight “Dike” Beede. Who the hell is Dwight Beede? He only had one of the most innovative ideas in all of sports in the last century. Oh, and he is a proud Fighting Penguin.

In this day in age, it is remarkable for a coach to last 10 years in a program as a head coach. Dwight Beede lasted 35 at YSU, tallying a record of 175 -146-20 . Sure Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden have proven that coaches can go from being once great football minds with dominant teams to mere recruiting mascots trying to outlast each other to get cheap wins under their belt (congrats to Joe Pa by the way for winning that eternal struggle). But neither of these college football titans, or most coaches before them, has given the game of football a bigger contribution than good ol’ Dike.  

In the early days of American football, a penalty on the field was signaled by either a whistle or a horn blown by the officials. This method worked just fine for the people on the field, the only problem was that anyone watching wouldn’t know there was a penalty until after the play was well over. Enter the infamous yellow penalty flag. It was Youngstown State’s own Dwight Beede who had his wife sew up some yellow handkerchiefs and hand them to the officials at his next game to signal fouls on the field.

Oct. 17, 1941 was the first use of the penalty flag, Youngstown State Penguins vs. Oklahoma City University at the Youngstown’s Rayen Stadium. Beede said,

“I always disliked the fish horn signal, figured it was a nuisance, irritating to the ears”

So prior to the game he told the officials:


“Do me a favor boys, instead of using the horns, try dropping these flags on violations. The fans never hear the horns. Besides it’s just an experiment.”



Well, that “experiment” lead to what we have all grown to love one minute and despise the very next. After gaining momentum around Ohiofor the next few years, the flag was later officially introduced at the American Football Coaches rules session and quickly accepted. One of the first official uses of the penalty flag after that meeting came on a field that is dripping with football tradition and is dear to many Mid West and Pacific dwelling football fans, the Rose Bowl. Two of the original flags are currently held in Mosure Hall on the fourth level in Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, OH.


So the next time you need a good trump card in the football version of 1-Up’s-Manship, point to the flag that just got thrown on the field for that homer’s team trying to cheat and tell them “Compliments of Youngstown’s finest. That will be 15 yards.”


Source for quotes and dates:

This has been a special guest post by Jeff Moore

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