Meet Coach Pete Shinnick

UWF Football Head Coach

Pete Shinnick
Head Coach


* 2017 AFCA National Coach of the Year
* 2017 National Coach of the Year
* 2017 AFCA Region 2 Coach of the Year

After a collegiate coaching career spanning more than 25 years, Pete Shinnick came to the University of West Florida in 2014 as the school’s first football head coach.

The two years that followed his hiring were some of the most progressive in the country. He hired an extremely talented staff that included two former college head coaches and numerous former college standout players.

The 2016 season saw the program compile a 5-6 record, marking the most wins by a first-year Division II program in a decade. The Argonauts also collected the school’s first win over a ranked opponent, defeating #16 Florida Tech at home before a sellout crowd on national television. UWF played before capacity crowds at Blue Wahoos Stadium three times and ranked 18th in the NCAA with a 6,328 average.

UWF had four players earn all-GSC honors, led by first team selections defensive back Trent Archie and wide receiver Ishmel Morrow. Archie led the team with 85 tackles and was named the GSC Defensive Freshman of the Year. Both players also became the program’s first all-region honorees. Linebacker Andre Duncombe and wide receiver Anas Hasic picked up second-team all-conference plaudits.

The Argos were equally as impressive in the classroom, with senior Reggie Barnes, graduate Kaleb Nobles and sophomore John Williamson earning CoSIDA Academic All-District and Academic All-GSC mention. An additional 23 student-athletes were named to the league’s Academic Honor Roll.

Shinnick’s career has included stints as a head coach at Azusa Pacific and UNC Pembroke, and he will lead the UWF football program in its first season in 2016.

Shinnick Press Conference Recap

Shinnick most recently coached at UNC Pembroke, where he was hired in 2005 to bring football back to the university after an absence of more than 50 years. He built the Braves into a nationally-ranked NCAA Division II team and compiled a record of 50-24 in seven seasons. Before bringing football back to UNC Pembroke, Shinnick made his mark as head coach of former NAIA powerhouse Azusa Pacific. In seven years with the Cougars, his teams posted a mark of 53-22 and earned two national semifinalist finishes.

UNC Pembroke
Shinnick was announced as UNCP’s head coach in December 2005, and the team began playing in 2007. After a 4-7 record the first season, the Braves averaged nearly eight wins over their next six years. Shinnick led the team to nine wins each in 2008 and 2009, and the 2009 team became the youngest program (three years) to advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs.

In his seven years coaching at UNCP, Shinnick finished with a record of 50-24 (.676 winning percentage). The second year team in 2008 finished as the NCAA Division II statistical national champion in scoring defense (11.2 points allowed per game), and they ranked sixth in the same category the following year (15.1). He led the Braves back to their second NCAA tournament in 2013, as the team earned a first round bye into the round of 16. The 2013 team was also ranked as high as No. 8 in the American Football Coaches Association national poll.

Azusa Pacific
Before building the program at UNC Pembroke, Shinnick excelled in his seven years as head coach at Azusa Pacific in Azusa, Calif. He took over in 1999 and saw immediate success, as the Cougars posted a record of 9-3 and advanced to the NAIA semifinals. Shinnick posted a record of 53-22 (.707 winning percentage) and the team made five total appearances in the NAIA playoffs, including a trip back to the semifinals in 2004.

His teams at Azusa Pacific set a total of 77 school records under his watch, and the Cougars appeared in the NAIA top 25 rankings 48 consecutive times and 75 out of 86 in his seven years. In Shinnick’s last four years, the team averaged more than 23.5 points per game and 328 total yards of offense per contest.

Previous experience
Before getting his first head coaching job at Azusa Pacific, Shinnick received a varied experience as an assistant coach at multiple levels. His first assistant coach position was at Richmond in 1988, and he coached at six more universities (Arkansas, Clemson, Oregon State, Northern Michigan, St. Cloud State, Humboldt State) before landing at Azusa Pacific in 1999.

Shinnick graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from Colorado in 1988, and he was a two-year letterwinner as an offensive lineman for the Buffaloes in 1985 and 1986. He appeared in 21 games for Colorado, including the 1985 Freedom Bowl and the 1986 Bluebonnet Bowl. He later earned his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Clemson in 1992.

Shinnick grew up in a football family, as his father Don Shinnick was a linebacker for the Baltimore Colts in the National Football League for 13 seasons. The elder Shinnick was a driving force behind the Colts’ NFL championships in 1958 and 1959. He led the league in interceptions with seven in 1959, and he still holds the career record for interceptions by a linebacker with 37. After his playing career, he saw time as an assistant coach in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.

Pete was born in Baltimore, Md. and graduated from high school in Columbia, Mo. Pete and his wife, Traci, are the proud parents of four children: Anna, Rachel, Elijah and Benjamin.

What other coaches are saying

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.”

Shinnick’s Coaching Resume

West Florida (Head Coach)
Year: W-L
2016: 5-6, Most wins by a first-year D2 program in 10 years
2017: 11-4, National Runner-up; Super Regional 2 Champion
Total: 16-10 (2 years)

UNC Pembroke (Head Coach)
Year: W-L
2007: 4-7
2008: 9-1
2009: 9-2
2010: 5-5
2011: 8-3
2012: 6-4
2013: 9-2
Total: 50-24 (7 years)

Azusa Pacific (Head Coach)
Year: W-L
1999: 9-3
2000: 6-4
2001: 4-5
2002: 9-1
2003: 8-2
2004: 11-3
2005: 6-4
Total: 53-22 (7 years)
Total as Head Coach: 119-56 (15 years)

Assistant Coach Positions
1988: Richmond (Offensive Line)
1989: Arkansas (Defensive Line)
1990-91: Clemson (Tight Ends)
1992-93: Oregon State (Recruiting Coordinator)
1994: Northern Michigan (Offensive Line)
1995-97: St. Cloud State (Offensive Coordinator)
1998: Humboldt State (Offensive Line)