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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

Beeghley Center – Youngstown State Penguins

Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Beeghley Center 1 University Plaza Youngstown, OH 44502

Year Opened: 1972

Capacity: 6,500


Go Guins!

Youngstown State University is a public school with over 11,000 students located in Youngstown, Ohio. Southeast of Cleveland, Youngstown is a modest city of 60,000 where the Youngstown State Penguins are the center of attention during basketball season. Youngstown State is famous for having Youngstown native and former Ohio State Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel as the university president. The Penguins play in the Horizon League in NCAA Division I, but have not enjoyed a tremendous amount of success. YSU is the only Division I school with the name Penguins as a team name. This goes back to the 1933 game against West Liberty State when Youngstown State traveled through two feet of snow for an away game.

Home for the Penguins is on campus in the Beeghly Physical Education Center. Commonly referred to as the Beeghly Center, it opened in 1972 and is named after local businessman, industrialist and philanthropist, Leon A. Beeghly, whose family and estate have donated a great deal to the university. The court is named after Dom Rosselli, who coached the Penguins for 38 years.

Food & Beverage 3

There are basically two concession areas, one at each end of the arena. The south end is where fans will find the biggest concession stand. The north end is very simple with only popcorn, soda, chips, nachos and beer. The south concession has far more in the way of options. Cheeseburgers, hot dogs, sausage, nachos, pretzels, hummus, and ice cream are all available at the south end. Pepsi products are the soda products of choice at the Beeghly Center. There are a few different types of beer available including products from Penguin City Brewing, which is local to Youngstown. Concession prices are pretty good with a bottle of beer going for $7 or $8 and bottles of soda going for $4. Concessions will not blow fans away but they are adequate to keep fans happy during the game.

Atmosphere 3

The exterior of the Beeghly Center is fairly nondescript and does not blow away the fans who attend games. The roof is low and hiding behind Stambaugh Stadium, the home of Penguins football, Beeghly Center can easily get lost in the shuffle. The main entrance on the south side does have large windows and columns which allow in plenty of natural light into the entrance. Just outside of the south entrance is a large plaza with the flagpoles in memory of those who lost their lives in armed conflicts. Not only is the court named after former coach Dom Rosselli, there is a piece of bronze art in front of the entrance.

Once fans have entered the south end, passed the ticket takers and up the stairs, fans will get to see some of the nice accents of Beeghly Center. The Youngstown State Athletic Hall of Fame is up there as well as displays for the retired numbers of mens and womens basketball players. Framed jerseys of Tony Vivo, Leo Mogus, John McElroy, Jeff Covington and Dorothy Bowers accompany displays for Coaches Dom Rosselli, Bill Dailey and Dan Peters in very classy wood inlet displays.

Inside the seating bowl, fans will immediately notice the cross shaped seating area, with distinct corners jutting in, dividing the different seating areas. The court runs from south to north with the perfect picture coming from the west side. The court features the traditional ‘Y’ Youngstown State logo, with the penguin logo watermarked on the floor. The seating on the east and west sides is divided tiers, with the lower tiers composed of retractable, plastic chair seats, and the upper tiers, retractable, wooden bleachers. The west side upper tier bleachers are kept back to create an area with tables and standing room, perfect for entertaining youth teams and recruits. The band can be found in the south end, where the bleachers are up, above the court. Signage suggests this is also the student section, however, there were no discernable students congregating in this area at the game reviewed. At the south end, above the band, the athletic banners hang. The Penguins do not have a vast history of success in men’s basketball. A banner highlighting Division II Tournament appearances hangs beside a banner showing participation in the CIT Tournament and TNT Basketball Classic Tournament. There are plenty of banners for the women’s basketball teams, which have many conference championships.

The gameday production at a Youngstown State game is what one would expect for a mid-major college basketball program. The band carries the load for the Penguins and unlike many other experiences, the band and the person in charge of the music seem to work together and the band is not playing over the PA or vice versa. The cheerleaders do their thing on the floor and are often aided by mascots Pete and Penny. The Penguins try to do a bit of a production for the opening of the game with students encouraged to use their phone flashlights. Overall, it is not too flashy and keeps the feel of that college atmosphere strong.

Neighborhood 3

The Beeghly Center is located on the campus of Youngstown State University, east of the Arlington neighborhood. There are a few spots for pre or post game food or drinks that fans may want to consider. Some options include Republic Pizzeria & Pub, Noble Creature Cask House, Cassese’s MVR and Charlie Staples BBQ.

As far as other sporting options in Youngstown, there are a couple. The Penguins football team is quite popular and plays FCS football at Stambaugh Stadium. The Youngstown Phantoms play in the USHL and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers play baseball in the MLB Draft League just north of Youngstown. Other entertainment options include the Stambaugh Auditorium, Wickyards, Stewart Media Archives Center, Arms Family Museum and Youngstown Museum of Industry and Labor.

For fans wanting to stay near Youngstown State, heading south towards downtown to the DoubleTree Youngstown Downtown would be an option.

Fans 3

The Youngstown State Penguins average over 2,700 fans per game in the 2022-2023 season. This ranks third in the Horizon League. Although the band, located in the south end, is boisterous and brings some pizazz to the game, there is not much of a student section past that. The students that are present blend in with all of the other fans. The YSU fans begin the game by remaining on their feet until the Penguins have scored their first basket. The cozy nature of the Beeghly Center would make for an amazing environment if there was a full house for a Penguins basketball game.

Access 3

Youngstown State University is located just north of Downtown Youngstown and east of the Arlington neighborhood. Although it is not terribly difficult to get to campus, Highway 422 which is the northeast border of campus, makes getting around a little more difficult than one would expect. Parking can be found on campus for a nominal fee. For fans wishing to take public transit to the game, there are WRTA buses on Wick Ave, Rayen Ave and 5th Ave, which surround campus. Fans should consult the Western Reserve Transit Authority website for fares, schedules and maps. Getting around the Beeghly Center is not too difficult, but larger crowds would make traversing the gym more problematic.

Security procedures and protocols at Division I venues are in a constant state of flux. Stadium Journey encourages fans to consult the Youngstown State Penguins website for the most up to date protocols including prohibited items and bag policies.

Return on Investment 4

Youngstown State basketball is very affordable. Tickets run from $12 to $22 with a bit of a discount when purchased in advance. Youth tickets are $7, so it is the perfect opportunity to bring the kids to the game. Concessions are not overly expensive and parking can be found for $5 on campus. The product on the floor is solid with a decent team in a good mid-major NCAA conference. In the end there is great value in 'Guins basketball for a very reasonable price.

Extras 2

An extra mark for Youngstown State being the only Division I team with the nickname Penguins.

An extra mark for the number of rivals in the area including Akron, Kent State, and Cleveland State.

Final Thoughts

The Youngstown State Penguins basketball experience will not wow the fans with flashiness and a reliance on fancy technology. The presentation is pretty simple and the Beeghly Center is a decent venue to catch a game. Fans will walk out of the game happy with the experience and not a massive dent in the pocket book.

Follow all of Dave’s sporting adventures on Twitter @profan9 and on Instagram.


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