UWF's Pete Shinnick is AFCA Region-2 Coach of the Year
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) —
UWF football Coach Pete Shinnick has been named the Coach of the Year Region-2 by the American Football Coaches Association. How could it be anyone else? Shinnick is now nominated for the national Coach of the Year Award, which will be announced January 9th.
UWF hired Shinnick in February 2014, to build the Argos' program from scratch. Thirty months later, his first team played its first game. The Argos went 5-6 in that inaugural 2016 season.
This year's team won its last two regular-season games over traditional powers North Alabama and West Georgia to earn an invitation to the NCAA playoffs. They became the first in NCAA history to make the playoffs in their second year of existence.
The Argos are 10-3. They have beaten four straight ranked teams, all on the road. They will play top-ranked Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Saturday in the national semifinals.
The Coach of the Year Award, like everything else in Shinnick's program, is a team thing.
"Great accomplishment for our team and for our coaches," Shinnick said. "I've got a great coaching staff that does a fantastic job. And I've got great players. Without those things, this award doesn't happen."
As with any successful coach, Shinnick's attention to detail is notable. And so, as the Argos prepare to travel to frigid Pennsylvania, they will be outfitted in proper cold weather gear.
When Shinnick coached Azusa Pacific and NAIA school in Southern California, his 2003 team opened the playoffs in North Dakota in the dead of winter. His California team was not dressed for success.
"And I told myself, 'I'll never put myself in that situation again,'" Shinnick remembered. "And so, part of last year's buying was getting the guys overcoats. We got the big sideline jackets that you see on TV. They got our logo on the back. And then, we've gotten them thermal long-sleeve shirts and pants. And ski masks. That kind of thing, hand warmers. Again, I knew at some point in time we were going to do this. I didn't know when. So, I wanted to be prepared for it."
The Argos will play IUP Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CST. The winner will advance to the national championship game in Kansas City on December 9.