There is nothing wrong in saying Dwight "Dike" Beede built the YSU football program from the ground up.
Because in 1938 when Beede took over the Penguin football program as the head coach, there were no players, no stadium, no coaches or fans -- only dreams and ideas. Beede turned those hopes of building a football program into the Youngstown State University football team. And for 32 seasons he was on the sidelines as the leader of the squad he created.
Beede coached the Penguins from 1938 the conclusion of the 1972 season. Just after the football season – and one month shy of his 70th birthday – he drowned in the Little Beaver Creek in December 1972. In his 32 years, he owned a coaching mark of 147-118-4 as the first coach of the YSU program, a winning percentage of .546. He spent 40 years as a collegiate head coach finishing with a career record of 175-146-20 record.
Prior to taking over at YSU he spent five years at Westminster College (14-21-3) and three seasons at Geneva College (14-7-3). He took over the program and started it from scratch.
While he had numerous coaching successes, Beede was an innovator for the game as well.
A star fullback at Carnegie Tech in the 1920's, Beede introduced the "spinner play" by accident. During a practice session, a handoff was missed and the quarterback kept the ball for a sizeable gain. He suggested refining the move and making it a play.
In 1941, he originated the use of flags to denote penalties rather than having a horn or whistle blow, which was then used during a play. Beede's wife Irma credited the flag, which was half white and half red. It was first used on Oct. 17, 1941 when the Penguins played host to Oklahoma City University at Youngstown Rayen Stadium.
He was recognized for his contributions in 1966 when he was named to the Helms Athletic Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame.
He was inducted in the Youngstown State Athletics Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class in 1985. In his honor, the playing surface at Stambaugh Stadium was named Beede Field in April 1982 by the university's Board of Trustees.
In 1938, he led the school to a 4-5 record in his first season. The Penguins began the year with four straight losses, but after picking up a 20-0 victory over Westminster to earn the first win in the school's history, won four of their final five games.
In 1940, Beede guided YSU to a 7-1-1 overall mark for the school's first-ever winning season. Youngstown State had a 15-game unbeaten streak from Oct. 4 1940 through Sept. 25, 1942. In 1960, YSU and Beede earned their 100th win beating Akron 34-21.
At Youngstown he posted 17 winning seasons and had 21 seasons where the school finished with a .500-or-better winning percentage. He guided the Penguins to eight wins in 1947 and that was a school record until the 1974 season. The Football Writers Association of America voted him the Small College Coach of the Year in 1957.
Beede earned the final victory of his coaching career on Nov. 4 when YSU beat Central State 28-6. In his final home game that year, YSU tied Central Michigan 28-28 on Nov. 11.
He earned his 100th career win in 1953 beating the LaCrosse Teachers 39-13 and earned career victory No. 150 in 1965 beating Central Michigan 35-14.
Beede was born in Youngstown in 1903 and had a stellar local and collegiate football career. He graduated from South High School in 1921 and after attending Newberry College in Newberry, S.C., for a year he returned home to play football at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon) in 1923. In his playing days he scored two touchdowns against Notre Dame's famed Four Horseman in a 1924 game. He earned his degree in Engineering from Carnegie Tech in 1926.
As for the Spinner Play, the team had an end-around play on which Beede, a fullback, took the ball turned his back on the line of scrimmage and handed off to the running end. Beede then would swing over to block after the maneuver. One day at practice, the end went the wrong way and Beede swung back around towards the line of scrimmage.
At the age of 23, he landed his first head-coaching job taking over the program at Westminster. He coached at Westminster from 1926-30 and later became the head coach at Geneva College from 1934-36. In 1937, he left coaching to sell insurance full time before taking over at YSU in 1938.
Even though he was the head coach of the football team, he was not a full-time university employee for the first decade he was on the sidelines. He took the job on the basis that he was a part-time coach who earned $1 a year, but was able to gain extra income by selling a portion of the school's insurance.
Beede was the District Manager of the Mass Mutual Life Insurance Co. from 1927-37 and then the District Manager of the National Life Insurance Co. from 1938-50 before becoming a full-time university employee.
He earned full-time status as coach and an associate professor of Biology in 1950. He was a respected forestry professor and was named to the Ohio Forestry Advisory Council by then Governor John J. Galligan. His farm home was recognized throughout the state for its exemplary tree farming and land management.
In 1938, Beede planted the seed for the Youngstown State football program. He spent 32 years working hard to make the program grow and by the time he was finished his football program, like his farm, had become something very impressive.