Gulf South Conference

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Game on – later. For the second time in as many months, the Gulf South Conference has delayed its 2020 fall sports schedule to 2021.

Last month the GSC delayed the beginning of football, volleyball, soccer, and cross-country until September or October.

“The [athletic directors] met and made some recommendations that was a little different than what we thought,” said UWF Athletics Director Dave Scott. “The main thing is the health and safety of the student-athlete. Fall is going to be a real challenge with the pandemic and the guidelines set forth.”

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As professional sports are gearing back up and college sports are weighing their options in the coronavirus pandemic, the West Florida football program is fighting its own battle against the virus in an uncertain future.

After spring football was canceled in March, Head Coach Pete Shinnick and the Argonaut program moved into summer with many of the activities normally aimed at the upcoming season – with one exception.

Photo courtesy of UWF Athletics

The start of fall sports at the University of West Florida and other universities in the Gulf South Conference has been delayed. That means student-athletes participating in volleyball, soccer, and football are now set to begin play the last week of September or the first week of October.

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Fall camp is underway for the University of West Florida Football Argonauts, who are preparing for their fourth season.

Monday was the team’s Media Day on campus.

“[We’re] very excited about what we have in this 2019 year; coming off of a season that was probably one of the most challenging that I’ve been associated with,” said Head Coach Pete Shinnick.

UWF went 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the Gulf South Conference last season, missing the Division II playoffs. Much of the blame can be placed on the injury bug that sacked the quarterbacks.

University of West Florida

After a championship season last winter, the University of West Florida Men’s Basketball team is ready to tip off a new campaign.

"High expectations I'd say would be one way to put where we're at now" said UWF Head Basketball Coach Jeff Burkhamer as he addressed the media last week. "So we had a great, great year (last season) and we want to be consistent with our growth and our success."

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The University of West Florida heads into its third year as the second-ranked Division-II team in the nation, in the preseason top 25 poll from American Football Coaches Association. The team held its annual Football Media Day on Wednesday.

Texas A&M Commerce – who beat the Argos 37-27 in the Division II title game last December – sits atop the poll. Minnesota State, Indiana (Pa.), and Fort Hays State round out the top five. From the Gulf South Conference, UWF is joined by West Alabama at number 12 and 19th ranked West Georgia.

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The West Florida baseball Argonauts open the 2018 season on Friday, hoping to improve over 2017. The Argos posted a 28-23 mark last season, finishing sixth in the Gulf South Conference tournament and unranked nationally.

“My job is to try to lead this team and build a culture and a team that they’re more than just playing for themselves,” said Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat, who enters his thirtheenth year in the dugout.

He says part of that job has moved from the diamond to cyberspace.

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The University of West Florida softball team opens the 2018 season this weekend, ranked third nationally in NCAA Division II, and picked to win the Gulf South Conference.

The Argonauts garnered 10 of 14 first-place votes in the GSC coaches’ poll. Valdosta State, Mississippi College, Alabama-Huntsville and North Alabama round out the top five. Lee, which met UWF in the South Super Regional last year, came in at number six.

“We’re excited; it’s quickly approaching and I think we’re ready,” said Head Coach Melissa Paul, who begins her fourth season at West Florida.

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While much of the attention of late has been on the University of West Florida football program, another UWF squad has been quietly making some history of its own.

Last week head coach Jeff Burkhamer and the team worked on different offenses and defenses in preparation for the next two games – both on the road. The Argos played at Union on Saturday, and at Christian Brothers on Monday night, winning both.

Burkhamer came to UWF in 2015, taking over a team that had won only seven games the previous season.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Coming off a 5-6 inaugural season and two and a half weeks before starting the 2017 season at Missouri S&T, Head Coach Pete Shinnick delivered his “State of the Team” address on Wednesday.

It’s been almost a year since the UWF football program kicked off against Ave Maria, and Shinnick says he and the coaching staff have been gauging themselves compared to what it was like last fall; what was it like last spring, and where the program is now.

UWF Athletics

The University of West Florida’s basketball teams open the season on Friday. Recently, they were featured at the Argonauts’ Winter Sports Media Day.  

The Argonaut men travel to Albany State in Fort Valley, Georgia to open Coach Jeff Burkhamer’s second season at UWF, which improved last year to 7-19 overall, and 5-17 in the Gulf South Conference.

UWF

The University of West Florida Wednesday announced its second recruiting class, seven months to the day before the first-ever football game.

Beginning at six o’clock Wednesday morning, 16 high school seniors declared to Head Coach Pete Shinnick their intention to suit up for the Argonauts,

“We wanted to be able to add depth at certain positions,” said Shinnick, “While also continuing to build a roster that we feel can be competitive next year in the Gulf South Conference.”

UWF// Bill Stockton

Winter sports programs at the University of West Florida took center stage Wednesday, at their annual media day. In the first of a two-part report, a look at men’s and women’s basketball. 

Six months after being hired as the men’s basketball coach at the University of West Florida, Jeff Burkhamer is preparing for what they hope is a season of resurrection. He inherits a team that went 7-21 last year, winning only three games in the Gulf South Conference.

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida Wednesday welcomed its newest coaching addition.

Jeff Burkhamer is the fourth head coach in the program’s 31-year history. He brings 31 years’ coaching experience to Pensacola, including 373 victories at the junior college and Division II levels. 

But UWF Athletic Director Dave Scott says in hiring Burkhamer last week, they looked beyond wins and losses.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

The University of West Florida’s new football program on Monday held its first tryout for students seeking to join the squad as walk-ons.

About 75 UWF students, most of them having played football at high schools in Florida and Alabama, turned out at the UWF Intramural Fields. They’re hoping to make a team that doesn’t begin play until September of next year. The 2015 season will be spent at practice, with players being red-shirted – that is, not losing any eligibility in the run up to West Florida’s inaugural season.

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