Youngstown State Unveils The Best Alternate Helmets In College Football, With Penguins

Youngstown State football is 2-3 on the season, but it is virtually impossible that it will lose on Saturday. Look good, feel good, play good is a very real thing and the Penguins are going to be looking very, very good.

The program unveiled its new alternate helmets for this weekend and they are, undeniably, the coolest lids in college football. Where their helmets usually feature a block ‘Y’ on both sides, Saturday’s domes will feature the school’s mascot. They’re awesome.

Youngstown State, which will host Indiana State for homecoming this weekend, is located smack dab between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. It is the only university that claims the ‘Penguins’ as its mascot.

Considering that it is a public research university in Ohio, it might not make all that much sense. However, there are two backstories that help the math add up, kind of.

Why did Youngstown State adopt the Penguins mascot?

Founded in 1908, Youngstown State was first the ‘Locals,’ which is not nearly as unique or cool. So when and why did they make the switch? There are two answers and they both date back to Jan. 30, 1933.

LEXINGTON, KY – SEPTEMBER 17: Youngstown State Penguins mascot Pete the Penguin in a game between the Youngstown State Penguins and Kentucky Wildcats on September 17, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, KY.
(Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The first — and most widely accepted — origin story stems from a road basketball game against West Liberty State Teachers College. Either the opposing head coach, or a fan (nobody really knows) noticed how the players were stomping on the floor and swinging their arms — similarly to penguins.

In addition, the school’s student newspaper said that the team bus to the game was not heated. So when the Youngstown State basketball team got to the game, they were frozen stiff and jumped around to try and loosen up.

The school didn’t have an official nickname at the time and ‘Penguins’ quickly became the popular choice.

The second story is a lot less fun. It says that fans were driving to attend the game, through the snow, and tossed around the ‘Penguins’ mascot idea. Once they got to the gym, they spread the idea to others and it caught steam. The rest is history.

Both stories, no matter which one is true, come with some questions. Youngstown State didn’t play West Liberty State Teachers College on Jan. 30, 1933. But the two teams did play in February of that year, so perhaps the date got mixed up.

No matter when it came to be, the Penguin mascot was pretty much just made-up. That is totally fine, because it resulted in a great mascot — and even better helmets.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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