Towson Tigers name Pete Shinnick Head Coach of the Football Team
The Towson Tigers have named Baltimore native Pete Shinnick the Head Coach of the Football Team, Towson announced Sunday. The Towson Tigers were on the search for a new head coach after they announced that long-time head coach Rob Ambrose would not be returning.
Shinnick is the son of former Baltimore Colts linebacker Don Shinnick. Pete Shinnick was most recently the head coach for the University of West Florida (UWF) where he won a Division II national championship in 2019.
Here is the Tigers press release.
TOWSON, Md. – Baltimore native Pete Shinnick, who guided the University of West Florida (UWF) to a Division II national championship in 2019 and playoff appearances in four of the last five seasons played, has been named Towson University’s Head Football Coach, Director of Athletics Steve Eigenbrot announced Sunday afternoon.
The son of former Baltimore Colts linebacker Don Shinnick will be introduced at a news conference in SECU Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 11:30 a.m.
The younger Shinnick is 159-67 (.704 winning percentage) all-time as a college head coach, spanning 20 seasons with stops at West Florida, UNC Pembroke and Azusa Pacific. He has earned Division II National Coach of the Year twice.
Shinnick was signed to a five-year contract.
“Pete Shinnick has been a winner at every stop,” said Eigenbrot. “We were looking for a leader with a vision, who draws people into the program and towards him. Over the last 20 years, at three different institutions, Pete has done just that. He has demonstrated proven success as a head coach with what he has accomplished at West Florida, UNC Pembroke and Azusa Pacific. His leadership and character make him a perfect fit for Towson.”
As the Tigers’ fifth head coach, Shinnick follows Carl Runk (1969-71), Phil Albert (1972-1991), Gordy Combs (1992-2008) and Rob Ambrose (2009-2022). Towson is the only program in the nation to earn playoff berths at the Division III, Division II and Division I levels, including a trip to the FCS championship game in 2013.
“I followed this program since that national championship run and I always felt like this could be that type of program,” said Shinnick. “Once the job opened, I started to investigate and learn more about it and became excited about what kind of opportunity this is.”
Shinnick came to West Florida in 2014 as the school’s first football head coach. Two years later, the Argonauts won five games in their inaugural season. In 2017, the Argos went 11-4 and advanced to the national championship game in just their second season of competition. Shinnick earned the first of two National Coach of the Year awards.
Two years later, UWF went 13-2 and defeated three number one seeds and four-consecutive undefeated teams to win the national title. Shinnick was named the National Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons while quarterback Austin Reed earned National Freshman of the Year honors after throwing for 4,089 yards and 40 touchdowns.
After not playing in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, West Florida earned playoff berths the last two seasons. The Argos went 12-2 in 2022, losing in the national semifinals to Ferris State Saturday afternoon. His overall record at UWF was 56-21.
“Our guys have done a great job in the community,” Shinnick added. “We did over 1,600 hours of community service last year and our guys are going to be involved. We want to bring a football program that this city, area and university is proud of both on and off the field.”
Shinnick was hired at UNC Pembroke in 2006 to bring football back to the university after an absence of more than 50 years. He built the Braves into a nationally ranked Division II team and finished with a 50-24 record over seven seasons (2007-13). The 2013 squad was ranked as high as No. 8 in the American Football Coaches Association national poll.
Shinnick’s first head coaching position was at Azusa Pacific (1999-2005). In seven years, his teams were 53-22 and advanced to two national NAIA semifinals. Azusa Pacific set a total of 77 school records under his watch as the Cougars appeared in the NAIA top 25 rankings 48 consecutive times and 75 out of 86 weeks during his tenure.
“This job had an amazing candidate pool, which allowed us to be very selective in our hire. Ultimately, character and fit for Towson drove us to this place. We listened to a lot of alumni, fans and supporters. They wanted someone who understands how to build and run a program and a history of meaningful and relevant success,” added Eigenbrot. “Obviously, the ability to develop players and recruit were high on the list, especially with this area being so rich in talent. Pete checked all those boxes and then some. Hiring a national champion fresh off a final four appearance. He has built two programs and led them quickly to success, which speaks to his ability to develop relationships and recruit when all he had to sell was a vision and his commitment to hard work.”
Shinnick began his coaching career at Richmond in 1988 and had stops at Arkansas (1989), Clemson (1990-91), Oregon State (1992-93), Northern Michigan (1994), St. Cloud State (1995-97) and Humboldt State (1998).
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Colorado in 1988. Shinnick appeared in 21 games for Buffaloes as an offensive lineman, including the 1985 Freedom Bowl and the 1986 Bluebonnet Bowl. He earned his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Clemson in 1992.
He and his wife, Traci, are parents of four children – Anna, Rachel, Elijah and Benjamin – and have two grandchildren.
Pete Shinnick was born in 1965, at Baltimore’s MedStar Union Memorial Hospital. His father, Don Shinnick, played 13 seasons at linebacker for the Baltimore Colts (1957-69). The elder Shinnick helped the Colts to the 1958 and 1959 NFL championships and played in Super Bowl III. He led the league in interceptions in 1959 and still holds the career record for interceptions by a linebacker with 37. After his playing career, he was an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.
“To be able to have the opportunity to be blessed to coach in Johnny Unitas® Stadium is coming full circle,” Pete Shinnick said. “I got a picture in my office of Dad and Johnny Unitas hugging after a victory. To be able to now put that picture up in an office in a stadium named after him is pretty cool.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Pete, his wife, Traci, and their family to Towson University,” said Eigenbrot. “The opportunity for us to hire someone that had some connection to the community was important. Pete’s is a little less traditional, but the fact that his dad played here and he was born in this city certainly will go a long way in having the community embrace him and his tenure gets off to a warm reception.”
The 2023 season opens Saturday, Sept. 2 at the University of Maryland.