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UWF Football Yr Ender

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In early 2014, the University of West Florida took a major step towards fielding a football team in 2016. Pete Shinnick was introduced in February as the program’s first head coach.

By her count, UWF President Judy Bense said she waited five years, four months and 32 days for this announcement.

Shinnick came to Pensacola from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, where he started that football program from scratch. In seven seasons, the Braves won 55 games – including a 9-2 mark in 2013, while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

UWF Athletic Director Dave Scott said Shinnick’s experience at UNC-Pembroke made him stand out from about 200 applicants.

When he stepped up to the podium, Shinnick talked about how he plans to build a team to compete in the Gulf South Conference. He said bedrock of any college program – regardless of the sport -- is recruiting.

As far as the X’s and O’s, Shinnick said he is hands-on when it comes to one side of the ball, and more of a CEO on the other side.

In December, Shinnick said that recruiting is going well. He and his assistant coaches have been talking to high school coaches and sifting through thousands of names and gigabytes of video – in evaluating talent from Miami to Alabama and Georgia.

Some elements of the UWF football program are already in place, including use of Bayfront Stadium in 2016 and 17. Groundbreaking for the football complex and a student tryout camp are scheduled for January, with the first recruiting class expected to be signed in February. 2015 will be a practice and redshirt year for them.