The Youngstown Patricians were a semi-professional football team based in Youngstown, Ohio. In the 1910s, the team briefly held the professional football championship and established itself as a fierce rival of more experienced clubs around the country, some of which later formed the core of the National Football League. The Patricians football team motto was "With Malice to None and a Square Deal to all."
The football team was organized in 1911 by the Patrician Club, a men's organization connected to St. Patrick's Roman Catholic parish, on the city's south side. The Patricians were organized to provide recreational enjoyment for the Parish boys and fielded both a basketball team and the more famous football team. The church was founded in 1911 by Father Charles A. Martin who was an earnest supporter of outdoor sports. As sports historian Vic Frolund observes, the Catholic lay organization was designed "to advance the moral, social, and physical welfare of its members." Nevertheless, by 1914, the team associated with the Patricians Club had become a highly competitive enterprise that aggressively recruited some of the top athletic talent in the region. Shortly after the team's founding, its 18 players faced an eight-game schedule among other semi-professional and sandlot teams in Ohio and Pennsylvania. After scoring seven wins and one loss, the Patricians embraced a longer and tougher schedule of nine games.
Faced with more experienced teams like the Canton Bulldogs, the McKeesport Olympics, the Pitcairn Quakers, and the Washington Vigilants, the Patricians increased their squad to 25 men and began to actively recruit well-established players. As Frolund writes: "Contracts were practically unheard of in the early days of the pro game. Consequently, a player could be with a different team every Sunday. His services were open to the highest bidder each week." In this competitive environment, the Patricians managed to secure seasoned players including Ray Miller (University of Notre Dame), Elgie Tobin (Pennsylvania State University), Russell "Busty" Ashbaugh (All-American mention at Brown University), and George Vedernack (Carlisle). This power-house team was led by player-coach Ray L. Thomas, a former star athlete at Youngstown's Rayen School.