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Press Conference Recap: Pete Shinnick introduced as UWF football head coach

PENSACOLA, Fla.Pete Shinnick was introduced as the first varsity football coach in University of West Florida history in a press conference on Thursday morning at the Argonaut Athletic Club. Shinnick addressed media members from across the region in his first public appearance as head coach.

The program started with a statement from UWF President Dr. Judy Bense about how football can improve the reach of UWF athletics. Athletic director Dave Scott then spoke about Shinnick’s background and why he was selected from a large pool of candidates. Coach Shinnick then spoke about his coaching philosophy and what to expect from the UWF football program.

“It is an honor to be here today,” said Shinnick. “The more I learned about the vision for football here at the University of West Florida, how it would be incorporated into the other sports, the success of the other teams, the number of conference and national championships we have won, it continued to get me excited about the opportunity.

“I love what Division II has to offer,” he continued. “It’s been a model that has fit me and my philosophy my entire life. What we want to do here is to be mentors for the young men who come and be a part of this program.”

“We’re very excited to have Coach Shinnick and his family here today,” said Scott. “We talk about building champions for life, so it was important for us to select someone that fit into our family here in UWF athletics. We were looking for someone that could build a team and put academics first.”

“I am very happy to be here today to welcome Coach Shinnick, who is going to lead us to the first kickoff that we have on a football field for the University of West Florida Argonauts,” said President Bense. “I also am happy that our athletic department will experience a boost. We have experienced unprecedented success already. We are a strong athletic university, and we are getting stronger.”

The support for Coach Shinnick came in from all parts of the country, as new and former colleagues sent in their support of Shinnick in his new position at West Florida.

Dave Canales, assistant quarterbacks coach for Seattle Seahawks (played for Shinnick while at Azusa Pacific University)
“Pete was a leader both on and off the field for us. He exemplified it every day. He came to work with passion and energy, and he got us excited about practicing and about playing tough. He was an example to us as a father by having his family around all the time and loving his family. He taught us how to have balance in our life and how to approach life every day. On top of all that, he taught us how to compete, how to be disciplined about our jobs, how to know our assignments and how to trust our teammates. He brought us together as a team unit and always gave us a chance to be competitive.”

Daryl Dickey, current athletic director and former football head coach at University of West Georgia
"Pete Shinnick has demonstrated proven success as a head coach with what he has accomplished at UNC Pembroke. His background, leadership and character make him a perfect fit for West Florida and a great addition to the Gulf South Conference."

Tim Horton, running backs coach at Auburn University (played for Shinnick while at University of Arkansas)
“Coach Shinnick is a first-class coach and person who is the perfect fit for UWF. He has the knowledge, work ethic, people skills, organization and experience to do great things for the Argonauts!”

Mike Summers, offensive line coach at University of Florida (coached alongside Shinnick while at Oregon State University)
“I have known Pete for 20 years and I am so excited he will be the new head football coach at the University of West Florida. Pete is a tremendous football coach who has been successful building football programs wherever he has been. The student-athletes that have played for Pete have been influenced by his commitment to excellence in the classroom as well as on the field. His concern for his players goes beyond the field to create an atmosphere in the program of support and caring for each member of the team. As UWF begins its football journey I can't think of a better person to build a foundation of passion, character and trust than Coach Shinnick."

T.J. Woods, offensive line coach at University of Wisconsin (coached alongside and played for Shinnick while at Azusa Pacific University)
“Coach Shinnick had a tremendous impact in my life academically, socially and athletically. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for him. He's extremely detailed and thorough in the way he goes about his day-to-day business, and that's important when you're building a new program. I think he's extremely good at building new programs, he's been successful before, and he’ll continue to do it.”

The University of West Florida Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has won seven national championships, and UWF leads all schools in Gulf South Conference history with 74 league championships and 16 all-sports trophies. Football will be the 15th varsity sport at the University. President Bense confirmed on Sept. 4 that the team will begin playing in 2016, and the University reached an agreement in concept for the team to play its home games at Maritime Park Stadium in downtown Pensacola starting that fall.

For information on all UWF athletics, visit


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