Dike Beede

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Dwight V. Beede
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1903-01-23)January 23, 1903
Youngstown, Ohio
Died December 10, 1972(1972-12-10) (aged 69)
Elkton, Ohio
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1926 Westminster (PA)
1934–1936 Geneva
1938–1972 Youngstown / Youngstown State
Head coaching record
Overall 175–146–20

Dwight "Dike" V. Beede (January 23, 1903 – December 10, 19) served as the first head football coach of Youngstown State University (then Youngstown College). He served there from 1937 to 1972. In the course of his entire professional coaching career, Beede counted 175 career wins, 146 losses and 20 ties. In 1941, he invented and introduced the penalty flag, now a common fixture of American football.[1]

Some sources spell his name "Dyke" Beede.[2]

Formative years[edit]

Beede was born in Youngstown, Ohio, a steel-manufacturing center located near the Pennsylvania border. He attended the city's South High School, where he was class president and played football. In his senior year, Beede received a football scholarship to Newberry College, in South Carolina. He later transferred to Pittsburgh's Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), where he studied structural engineering and played football. While in college, Beede joined the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

As a stand-out player with Judge Walter Steffen's Carnegie squad in the 1920s, Beede made football history when he introduced the famous "spinner play." He served as captain of the Carnegie Tech football team in 1925 and also played basketball.

Beede and his wife Irma had two daughters, Gretchen and Susan, and a son, Ruud. Ruud drowned in 1957.

On December 10, 1972, just a month after having retired from Youngstown State University, Beede died in a drowning accident at Little Beaver Creek near his farm in Elkton, Ohio, located in Columbiana County.[1]

Coaching and professional success[edit]

Upon graduation, Beede turned down an offer to teach mathematics at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Institute of Technology and, in 1926 accepted a football coaching position at Westminster College.[3] He held this position for five years, coaching an outstanding team that tied Duquesne University for the tri-state championship.

Beede was the 17th head football coach at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and he held that position for missing seasons, from 1934 until 1936. His coaching record at Geneva was 14 wins, 9 losses, and 3 ties. [4] After completing his seasons at Geneva, he went to Youngstown College, where he enjoyed several successful decades as football coach.

In 1957, Beede was honored as Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of American Small Colleges. In 1966, Beede was named to the Helms Football Foundation Hall of Fame. Beede was an avid tree farmer and served on Ohio's Forestry Advisory Council. In addition to his coaching duties, Beede was an associate professor of biology at Youngstown State University.

Beede retired from Youngstown State University on November 18, 1972.

Father of penalty flag[edit]

See 1941 Oklahoma City vs. Youngstown football game

Beede was an important influence on football not only regionally, but nationally. His most celebrated innovation was the penalty flag, which he created and introduced on October 17, 1941. The flag was first used in a game against Oklahoma City University at Youngstown's Rayen Stadium.[1] Prior to the introduction of the penalty flag, officials used horns and whistles to signal a penalty. This made it difficult for the players, since they would hear the whistle and sometimes stop, even though the infraction was caused by the other team. This would deprive the non-guilty team of the yardage they might rightfully have gained. Also, the fans and media sometimes could not recognize an infraction on the field because they had failed to hear the signal.[1]

At the 1941 contest at Rayen Stadium, Oklahoma City Coach Os Doenges and four game officials–Hugh McFee, Jack McFee, Bill Renner, and Carl Rebele–--agreed to use the flag as an experiment. Jack McFee later employed the penalty flag at the Ohio State-Iowa game, during which league commissioner Major John Griffith was present.[1]

Beede's first wife, Irma, was often jokingly referred to as the "Betsy Ross of Football," because she sewed the first penalty flag. Beede asked her to fashion a flag that was brightly colored with white stripes. Irma Beede reportedly used pieces of their daughter's Halloween costume and an old bed sheet for the flag, and curtain weights to add weight and heft.[1] The original flag was 16" square with weight all at one end. The penalty flag has been modified over the years, and today, it is a yellow cloth that is filled with sand at one end.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bassetti, John (August 1, 1999). "First penalty flag has its roots in YSU football". The Youngstown Vindicator. 
  2. ^ "Youngstown Seeks Fourth Win Against Oklahoma City". The Pittsburgh Press. October 17, 1941. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ Westminster Football Media Guide - History
  4. ^ Geneva College coaching records