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UWF Spring Sports Ready For 2016

University of West Florida

The UWF Spring Sports teams were introduced to the media Wednesday afternoon. "53 of our conference championship have come out of spring sports" said Dave Scott, Athletic Director at the University of West Florida. He was speaking at a gathering of coaches, athletes and the media to kick off the 2016 spring sports season at the university. "Spring's always been very string for us and we don't expect anything different this year. We have teams in tennis and golf that have strong national ratings this year."

Baseball is another spring sport with a history of success at UWF. Last season the Argos notched the 11 hundredth win in the program’s history. Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat appreciates being a part of that tradition of success. "It's wonderful, and I've had a small piece of that, I think 350 odd wins.  Coach Spooner had the bulk of (the wins). He really established the program. [I] was fortunate enough to play for him and coach with him and really get a lot of the foundation of being a mentor and a leader and helping these guys understand what it means becoming men and productive citizens and having life after baseball."

Coach Jeffcoat is going into the season without his biggest offensive weapon from last year Ledarious Clark who was drafted by the Texas Rangers. He thinks his current squad can pick up the slack. "I think there are some guys (who) can definitely out up the numbers, if not better numbers than Ladarious. Ladarious had some special talents, some 'tools' that major league teams look for in terms of athleticism and speed and explosiveness and power and arm strength that  doesn't come every day."

One team that is looking for a big improvement over last year is the women's softball squad. Last year was Head Coach Melissa Paul’s first with the Argos and they ended up with a 19-30 record, losing 13 of their first 14 games.  This year, the team plays its first dozen games on the road. Coach Paul is hoping for a better start but says it will be tough. "We're just trying to keep the girls rested and healthy and vibrant with all the time we're going to spend on the road this year." The team has 35 dates scheduled for the season with only 12 at home. They are hoping to build on the momentum that started towards the end of last season. "We won four out of our last six conference series, which is a lot better than (how we started). Hopefully, that shows us what we can do going into this year."

The men’s and women’s golf teams at UWF are both coming off first place Gulf South Conference finishes from last year…and the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams have each won the Gulf South for the last four years. Athletic Director Dave Scott gives a lot of credit to Derick Racine, the coach of both tennis programs.

All the spring programs begin play in early February. As far as home games, the first Men’s and Women’s tennis home matches are on the 16th, The Baseball team takes the field at UWF on February 9th, the Softball squad finally gets a home game on the 24th and the golf teams will be hosting the Argonaut Invitational on local courses beginning April 4th

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.