Feb. 27, 2020
UWF Head Football Coach
Pete Shinnick has done what many thought was impossible and turned it into a reality. Take a start-up football program and win a national championship... in just four years.
With UWF’s run to the programs first NCAA Division II National Championship last season, Shinnick affixed the program among the nation’s best and announced UWF as a national power.
UWF established school records for wins (13), home wins (5), longest winning streak (7), and wins over ranked opponents (5). The Argonauts’ run to the title was the most impressive in D2 history, defeating three number one seeds and four-consecutive undefeated teams for the first time ever.
For his efforts, Shinnick was named the National Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons, while quarterback Austin Reed was tabbed the National Freshman of the Year after throwing for 4,089 yards and 40 touchdowns while going 13-1 as a starter.
Shinnick is now 35-17 in four seasons at UWF, which includes a 9-1 record in postseason play. He is 138-63 all-time as a college head coach spanning 18 seasons with stops at Azusa Pacific and UNC Pembroke.
After a collegiate coaching career spanning more than 25 years, Shinnick came to the University of West Florida in 2014 as the school’s first football head coach. The three years that followed his hiring were some of the most progressive in the country. He assembled an extremely talented staff that includes two former college head coaches and numerous former standout college players.
The 2018 team recorded a winning season for the second consecutive year and won the program’s seventh game over a top 25 opponent. UWF placed a record eight players on the All-GSC team, led by First Team selections Gavin Burford and Marvin Conley.
In 2017, Shinnick authored one of the most exciting stories in NCAA history as the Argonauts went 11-4 and advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championship Game in their second season of competition. UWF went 5-3 in the ultra-competitive Gulf South Conference to finish tied for second. The Argonauts won a school record six-consecutive games which included five against nationally ranked teams en route to the title game appearance.
UWF was ranked second in the final AFCA Top 25, marking its first-ever ranking after receiving votes twice during the 2017 season.
The Argos had the nation’s 20th-ranked defense and were among the top 20 in sacks, turnovers gained, interceptions, fumbles recovered, fourth down defense and defensive touchdowns.
Defensive end John Williamson and defensive back Marvin Conley were each named All-America by the Associated Press, D2Football.com and the D2 Conference Commissioners of America. Mike Beaudry was voted the GSC Offensive Freshman of the Year, while Williamson and place kicker Austin Williams were First Team All-GSC selections.
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 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 Pebroke, Shinnick made his mark as head coach at Azusa Pacific. In seven years with the Cougars, his teams posted a mark of 53-22 and earned two national semifinalist finishes.
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 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 squad earned a first round bye into the round of 16. The 2013 team was also ranked as high as No. 8 in the AFCA rankings.
Before building the program at UNC Pembroke, Shinnick excelled in 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 appearances in the NAIA playoffs, including a trip back to the semis in 2004.
His teams at AP set a total of 77 school records, 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 and 328 total yards of offense per contest.
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE
Before getting his first head coaching job, 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 CU, 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 NFL 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.
Shinnick was born in Baltimore, Md. and graduated from high school in Columbia, Mo. He and his wife, Traci, are the proud parents of four children - Anna, Rachel, Elijah and Benjamin - and they welcomed their first grandchild last summer.