Pete Shinnick

John Blackie / University of West Florida

Eighteen months after being hired to start the University of West Florida’s football program, Head Coach Pete Shinnick leads his team into fall practice on Thursday, after meetings and a walkthrough on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As has been said many times before, 2015 is a practice and redshirt year. The inaugural season begins in September of 2016, in Naples against Ave Maria University. Speaking at the first football media day last week, Shinnick said they’ll have a bit of a variation in schedule when they take the field on Thursday.

University of West Florida

Four years after first being mentioned, football at the University of West Florida begins in a week with the opening of fall camp for the 2015 practice year.

In 2011, UWF President Judy Bense held up a plain white helmet with “UWF” taped to it to announce that the effort would begin to start a football program. On Wednesday, she got to hold up the real deal: a helmet which will be game-worn.

“Holding up that helmet now, it is not a generic helmet,” Bense said. “It is an absolutely gorgeous blue, frosted white [with an] Argonaut on it. It will never look that good again.”

The University of West Florida football program held its first spring practice on Wednesday, at the UWF Intramural Fields under sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s.

The players are nine student-athletes who have either transferred from other schools, or were selected from two previous tryout camps. Before the workout, Head Coach Pete Shinnick addressed the troops.

“Listen, like we’ve talked about, how we’re doing things, what’s taking place and what your role is,” said Shinnick. “We’re going to teach, we’re going to learn.”

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Wednesday was National Signing Day for high school football players seeking a college and vice versa. For the first time, the list of universities competing for talent includes the University of West Florida, which begins play in 2016.

University of West Florida

The University of Alabama-Birmingham’s announcement Tuesday that its football program is going away is raising questions about how other football-playing schools in the region, including the University of West Florida, could be affected.

UAB becomes the first since Pacific in 1995 to shutter its football operation. The decision was made after a campus-wide study conducted by a consulting firm over the past year, which shows UAB subsidizes two thirds of the program’s $30 million operating budget.

The University of West Florida will field its inaugural football team in the fall of 2016. Leading the Argonauts will be Pete Shinnick – who is no stranger to starting a program from scratch. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody recently sat down with the head coach.

The 48-year-old Shinnick comes to Pensacola from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, where he started that football program from scratch. In seven seasons, the Braves won 55 games – including a 9-2 mark last year while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the proposal by the U.S. Air Force to reduce its active-duty force by 22,500 or 7 percent in 2014. The more aggressive one-year reduction plan compares to previously announced plans to reduce the force by about 25,000 over five years.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the proposal by the U.S. Air Force to reduce its active-duty force by 22,500 or 7 percent in 2014. The more aggressive one-year reduction plan compares to previously announced plans to reduce the force by about 25,000 over five years.