Youngstown State Penguins football

Youngstown State Penguins
2016 Youngstown State Penguins football team
First season 1938
Head coach Bo Pelini
2nd year, 149 (.609)
Stadium Stambaugh Stadium
Seating capacity 20,630
Field surface SprinTurf
Location Youngstown, Ohio
Conference MVFC
All-time record 42528617 (.595)
Playoff appearances Div. I FCS: 13
Playoff record Div. I FCS: 29-9
Claimed nat'l titles Div. I FCS: 4
Conference titles 5
Colors Red and White[1]
Website YSU Penguins Football

The Youngstown State Penguins football team represents Youngstown State University in college football. Youngstown State currently plays as a member of the NCAA at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA) and are a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC). The Penguins have played their home games in Stambaugh Stadium, more commonly called "The Ice Castle," since 1982.

YSU football has been one of the leading programs in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, winning four national championships under former head coach Jim Tressel (currently YSU President), which is third behind North Dakota State's five championships and Georgia Southern's six. Overall, YSU has made 11 playoff appearances since Division I FCS (then Division I-AA) was formed in 1978.


Conference affiliations

Early history

The YSU football program began in 1938 as an Independent NCAA team under head coach Dwight "Dike" Beede. The Penguins played their first game on September 15, 1938 in a 12-6 loss to Geneva College.[2] About a month later, on October 22, 1938, Youngstown State won its first game with a 20–0 shutout at Westminster College (PA).[2] The Penguins won their first home game on November 3, 1938 with a 20–14 win against Davis & Elkins College.[2]

Longtime head coach Dwight "Dike" Beede made a historical impact on the game of American football after noticing on-field confusion due to officials using whistles to signal a penalty. Beede invented the penalty flag and it was used for the first time during a game on October 17, 1941 against Oklahoma City University at the Youngstown's Rayen Stadium.[3] The flag is now standard at all football games.

Dwight Beede retired from the program after the 1972 season and was replaced by Rey Dempsey starting in the 1973 season.[4] After 35 years as an independent program the football team joined NCAA Division II in 1973. In the 1974 season, the penguins qualified for the Division II playoffs after going 8–1 in the regular season.[4] YSU fell 14–35 against Delaware in the program's first playoff game.[4] Following the 1974 season, Dempsey he left Youngstown State to become a special-teams coach for the Detroit Lions 1975, he was In the three seasons at YSU he compiled a 12–8 record.

Bill Narduzzi became the third coach in program history in 1975. The team joined the Mid-Continent Conference in 1978 and recorded a 9 win regular season under Narduzzi and claimed the Mid-Continent Conference Championship.[5] Narduzzi led Youngstown State to its first playoff win on November 25, 1978 against Nebraska-Omaha.[5] The 21–14 win advanced the team into the Division II Semifinal Playoff Game where the Penguins lost to Eastern Illinois 22–26.[5] The team finished the season with a record of 10–2, the first 10-win season for the program. The 1979 season saw Youngstown State claim their second Mid-Continent Conference Champions going undefeated in conference games and losing only a single game to Delaware. The Penguins defeated South Dakota State 50–7 in the Division II Quarterfinal Playoff Game and shutout Alabama A&M 52–0 in the Division II Semifinal Playoff Game.[5] The win in the semifinal round gave Youngstown state its first appearance in an NCAA Football Championship. The Penguins faced the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens in the Zia Bowl in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the NCAA Division II Championship.[5] In the championship YSU was defeated by Delaware 21–38 and finished the season with a record of 11–2.[5] In 1981, Youngstown State joined the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). After going 2–8–1 in the 1980 season, playing a majority of Division I opponents, the Penguins finished their first season in Division I and the OVC with a record of 7–4, including an upset of Cincinnati who was playing as a Division I FBS Independent.[6]

Recent history

The program's most successful period came from 1986 to 2000 under Jim Tressel. Tressel led the Penguins to four NCAA Division I-AA National Championships. In 1991, YSU won its first national championship, defeating Marshall, and won two more national championships in the following three seasons: against Marshall in 1993 and Boise State in 1994. The Penguins won a fourth title in 1997 with a 10–9 victory against McNeese State. The Tressel era of YSU football also included two stints as national runner-up in 1992 and 1999. YSU's four national championships are third in DI FCS only to North Dakota State's five and Georgia Southern's six national titles. Tressel was also named Division I-AA Coach of the Year in ’91, ’93, ’94 and ’97.[7]

Tressel left Youngstown State following the 2000 season to coach Ohio State, where he coached from 2000 to 2010. Tressel resigned from Ohio State in 2011 after an NCAA investigation of rules violations during the 2010 season and Ohio State self-vacating their wins for 2010 season.[8] Tressel's first incident with the NCAA came during his tenure as YSU head coach when it emerged in 1994 that Ray Issac, the quarterback on the Penguins' 1991 national championship team, had received benefits from Mickey Monus, who was a major benefactor to Youngstown State University. Over Issac's college career, Monus gifted $10,000 in cash and the use of several cars. The NCAA made an inquiry after being tipped off to Monus' actions, but dropped it after a cursory internal investigation by Youngstown State. The true scope of the violations was only revealed in 1998, when Isaac admitted tampering with a juror in Monus' fraud trial. Youngstown State admitted to a lack of institutional control and docked itself some scholarships, but was allowed to keep its 1991 title since the statute of limitations had run out.[9]

His successor, Jon Heacock, did not win a national championship, but still delivered consistent seasons and took them to a national semifinal appearance in 2006 (losing to eventual national champion Appalachian State) prior to resigning following the 2009 season. Eric Wolford, a Youngstown native who has been labeled a top recruiter at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level, was named the sixth head coach in school history on December 15, 2009.[10] Wolford recorded a 3–8 record in his first season in 2010. Despite the record, Youngstown State led at some point in all but one game they played.[11] The streak was ended in the first game of the 2011 season when YSU lost to Michigan State 6–28 and never held a lead in the game.[11] The 2011 season featured improvement to a 6–5 record, highlighted by a victory over eventual FCS National Champion North Dakota State.

The Penguins beat the University of Pittsburgh, 31–17, on September 1, 2012, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. This marked the first time the Penguins had ever beaten a Bowl Championship Series team, though they have several wins over Football Bowl Subdivision teams from non-automatic qualifier conferences, such as the MAC.[12]

Postseason history

Season Round Winner Loser
1978 II Quarterfinal Youngstown State 21 Nebraska-Omaha 14
II Semifinal Eastern Illinois 26 Youngstown State 22
1979 II Quarterfinal Youngstown State 50 South Dakota State 7
II Semifinal Youngstown State 52 Alabama A&M 0
II Championship Game (Zia Bowl)Delaware 38 Youngstown State 21
1987 I-AA First Round Northern Iowa 31 Youngstown State 28
1989 I-AA First Round Youngstown State 28 Eastern Kentucky 24
I-AA Quarterfinal Furman 42 Youngstown State 23
1990 I-AA First Round Central Florida 20 Youngstown State 17
1991 I-AA First Round Youngstown State 17 Villanova 16
I-AA Quarterfinal Youngstown State 30 Nevada 28
I-AA Semifinal Youngstown State 10 Samford 0
I-AA Championship Game Youngstown State 25 Marshall 17
1992 I-AA First Round Youngstown State 23 Villanova 20
I-AA Quarterfinal Youngstown State 42 Citadel 17
I-AA Semifinal Youngstown State 19 Northern Iowa 7
I-AA Championship Game Marshall 31 Youngstown State 28
1993 I-AA First Round Youngstown State 56 Central Florida 30
I-AA Quarterfinal Youngstown State 34 Georgia Southern 14
I-AA Semifinal Youngstown State 35 Idaho 16
I-AA Championship Game Youngstown State 17 Marshall 5
1994 I-AA First Round Youngstown State 63 Alcorn State 20
I-AA Quarterfinal Youngstown State 18 Eastern Kentucky 15
I-AA Semifinal Youngstown State 28 Montana 9
I-AA Championship Game Youngstown State 28 Boise State 14
1997 I-AA First Round Youngstown State 28 Hampton 13
I-AA Quarterfinal Youngstown State 37 Villanova 34
I-AA Semifinal Youngstown State 25 Eastern Washington 14
I-AA Championship Game Youngstown State 10 McNeese State 9
1999 I-AA First Round Youngstown State 30 Montana 27
I-AA Quarterfinal Youngstown State 41 North Carolina A&T 3
I-AA Semifinals Youngstown State 27 Florida A&M 24
I-AA Championship Game Georgia Southern 59 Youngstown State 24
2000 I-AA First Round Richmond 10 Youngstown State 3
2006 FCS First Round Youngstown State 35 James Madison 31
FCS Quarterfinal Youngstown State 28 Illinois State 21
FCS Semifinal Appalachian State 49 Youngstown State 24
2016 FCS First Round Youngstown State 38 Samford 24
FCS Second Round Youngstown State 40 Jacksonville State 24
FCS Third Round

Coaching staff

Name Position Alma Mater Year
Bo Pelini Head Coach Ohio State, 1990 1st
Shane Montgomery Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks North Carolina State, 1990 6th
Ron Stoops, Jr. Co-Defensive Coordinator Youngstown State, 1980 1st
Carl Pelini Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Youngstown State, 1989 6th
Carmen Bricillo Offensive Line Coach Duquesne, 1999 6th
Brian Crist Wide Receivers Hampden–Sydney College, 1994 1st
Kyle Brey Tight Ends Buffalo, 2010 1st
Pepe Pearson Running Backs Ohio State, 1998 1st
T.J. Hollowell Linebackers Nebraska, 2009 1st
Richard McNutt Secondary Ohio State, 2004 1st
Tim Marlowe Assistant Secondary Nebraska, 2012 1st

Home venue

YSU plays its home games at Stambaugh Stadium, nicknamed "The Ice Castle", which has an official capacity of 20,630.[13]


The Penguins had an annual rivalry with the Akron Zips for possession of the Steel Tire, a trophy based on the prominent industries of each respective city: tires for Akron and steel for Youngstown. The rivalry began in 1940 and was played again in 1941, then was contested annually from 1959–1963 and 1967–1995. Akron moved to Division I-A (FBS) in 1987 and joined the Mid-American Conference in 1992. Since 1995, the series has been dormant. Youngstown State leads the overall series 19–14–2.[13][14]

Notable alumni

The Penguins have sent 21 players to the NFL, including active Oakland Raiders safety Brandian Ross and guard Lamar Mady.Some of their most well-known football alumni include current ESPN Analyst Ron Jaworski, Jeff Wilkins, Paul McFadden, Donald Jones, and Cliff Stoudt. In addition, many college football coaches have been associated with Youngstown State. Alongside Tressel, former University of Kansas head coach Mark Mangino and current Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio began their coaching careers at YSU, and former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie played for the Penguins. Quarterback Ray Isaac played in the Arena Football League. Rudy Florio played in the Canadian Football League

See also


  1. YSU Licensed Logos + Trademarks (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  2. 1 2 3 "Youngstown St. Yearly Results: 1938–1939". College Football Data Warehouse. 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  3. "Traditions: Penalty Flags' Roots Grew In Youngstown". Youngstown State. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 "Youngstown St. Yearly Results: 1970–1974". College Football Data Warehouse. 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Youngstown St. Yearly Results: 1975–1979". College Football Data Warehouse. 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  6. "Youngstown St. Yearly Results: 1980–1984". College Football Data Warehouse. 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  7. "Jim Tressel Biography". Retrieved April 24, 2008.
  8. "Ohio State vacates 2010 wins, puts self on probation". CNN. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
  9. Farrey, Tom (December 11, 2004). "Souls of the departed haunt Youngstown". ESPN. Retrieved 2011. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. AP Staff (December 15, 2009). "Wolford hired by Youngstown State". ESPN. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  11. 1 2 AP Staff (September 2, 2011). "Youngstown St vs. Michigan State – Recap". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  12. Nevins, Conor (September 5, 2012). "Dancing down the runway Week 1". Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  13. 1 2 "Stambaugh Stadium". Youngstown State University. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  14. "Youngstown St. vs Akron (OH)". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 3, 2011.

External links

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