A friend of a friend-Ken Hatfield-Pete Shinnick-June 12


One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for June 12, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

Yesterday I got a great treat. I was sitting at my desk and a friend and former coach at UNC Pembroke gave me a call. The friend was Pete Shinnick the Head Football Coach at the University of West Florida. I hired Pete in 2005 to begin and coach our football team at UNCP. It was good to get caught up with Pete on everything he had been involved with over the last few months. He arrived at West Florida which is located in Pensacola, Florida in February 2014. West Florida will not play their first game until September 3, 2016.

Pete accomplished some amazing things at UNC Pembroke, as our football coach. When he was hired in 2005 he was challenged to bring football back to our 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, Pete made his mark as head coach of former NAIA powerhouse Azusa Pacific. In seven years with the APU Cougars, his teams posted a mark of 53-22 and earned two national semifinalist finishes.

What Pete did at UNCP was quite amazing. After a 4-7 record the first season, his teams averaged nearly eight wins over their next six years. He 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.

Pete 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. Don 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. The two girls are college aged with Rachel set to do a year-long internship in Fayetteville, NC beginning this summer. Anna is enrolled at West Florida with her brothers headed to 8th and 9th grade respectively.

Pete shown below in 2013 after his UNC Pembroke team defeated UNC Charlotte

Pete Shinnick Family

During our call Pete bragged and talked about what he missed most about Pembroke. He focused on the people and the friends he had made. He also spoke about the coaches in his life that had made a difference and help guide his path. In 1989 Pete was an assistant coach at Arkansas and then the next two years he went on to Clemson all serving under the same head coach. That head coach was Ken Hatfield who was the 2015 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award winner.

The Friend-PETE SHINNICK

Pete Shinnick

The Friend of the Friend-KEN HATFIELD

Ken Hatfield

Ken Hatfield Coaching Tree

Football coaches especially college coaches have a professional association called the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Former Air Force, Arkansas, Clemson and Rice head coach Ken Hatfield was named the 2015 recipient of the AFCA’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Award. The award, which honors those “ whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football,” was presented to Ken Hatfield at the AFCA Awards Luncheon in January 2015 in Louisville, KY.

Hatfield retired from coaching football at Rice in 2005 after making stops at Air Force, Arkansas and Clemson. Hatfield won a total of four conference championships (three Southwest Conference titles, 1988-89, 1994, and one Atlantic Coast Conference, 1991); led his teams to 10 bowl games and posted a career record of 168-140-4. During Hatfield’s coaching career, he guided three different schools to 10-win seasons and is one of only a handful of coaches to lead three different teams to Top 20 seasons in FBS.

When you think about this award it helps to remember who Amos Alonzo Stagg was.

Amos Alonzo Stagg

Amos Alonzo Stagg began his coaching career at the School of Christian Workers, now Springfield (Mass.) College, after graduating from Yale University in 1888.

Stagg also served as head coach at Chicago (1892-1932) and College of the Pacific (1933-1946). His 41 seasons at Chicago is one of the longest head coaching tenures in the history of the college game.

Among the innovations credited to Stagg are the tackling dummy, the huddle, the reverse play, man in motion, knit pants, numbering plays and players, and the awarding of letters.

A long-time AFCA member, Stagg was the Association’s 1943 Coach of the Year.

According to NCAA records, Stagg’s 57-year record as a college head coach is 314-199-35. He was 84 years old when he ended his coaching career at Pacific in 1946. He died in 1965 at the age of 103.

Pete Shinnick is a great man, great friend, great dad, great husband, and with Ken Hatfield having his name on the Amos Alonzo Stagg trophy Pete is also on a coaching tree that has pretty good roots.

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