Having left his footprints in each stage of his storied coaching career, Pete Shinnick will begin his 26th year as a collegiate coach in 2012 and will take UNCP through its sixth year of intercollegiate football. Shinnick, who spent seven seasons at the helm of a dominating Azusa Pacific program, was officially named the Braves first intercollegiate football head coach on Dec. 13, 2005.
“Pete Shinnick's competency and character impressed everyone that he came into contact with during the interview process,” said athletic director Dan Kenney. “He demonstrated through his previous coaching experiences that he is truly committed to the UNCP mission statement of ‘preparing champions.’ His coaching pedigree and background in football is outstanding.”
Despite registering a 4-7 record in 2007 - UNCP’s first season of intercollegiate football in more than 50 years - Shinnick has built the football program in Pembroke into one of the most dominating teams in the region. Over the last four seasons, the Braves have boasted one of the country’s most dominating defensive units and, last season, exhibited one of NCAA Division II’s most prolific offenses. UNCP has, thrice, finished among the nation’s top-12 teams in scoring defense, including leading the country in that category in 2008, and has, twice finished among the nation’s top 30 teams in rushing offense during that same time frame as well. Last season, the Braves finished with the nation’s sixth-best total offense.
The current four-year run has produced a bevy of team accomplishments as the Braves shattered a record for the youngest team to qualify for the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2009, but has also produced a multitude of individual honors as well. In the short five-year history of the program, the Braves already boast 13 all-American accolades, as well as a lion’s share of all-NCAA Independent honors from D2Football.com. In addition, 13 different players have graced all-region squads, while another has been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District squad.
Having trained his entire life for a career in coaching, Shinnick grew up around the game of football as the son of late former NFL player Don Shinnick who played 13 seasons, all with the Baltimore Colts, before retiring as a player and becoming a coach. During the elder Shinnick’s playing days, he had a still-current NFL linebacker record 37 interceptions and was one of the driving forces of Baltimore’s run to NFL titles in 1958 and 1959.
After retiring as a player, he served as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Raiders. In 1985, he was hired on to coach the New England Patriots who, a year after his hiring, captured the AFC championship.
His legacy had a healthy influence on all of his sons. Three of Pete’s four brothers started football careers themselves with the four youngest playing at Division I colleges – Josh at UCLA, Adam at Penn State and Chris at Hawaii. Josh played on three Rose Bowl teams for the Bruins.
Pete, the middle brother, lettered two years as an offensive guard for Colorado. During his career, he played in 21 games for the Buffaloes, including the 1985 Freedom Bowl and the 1986 Bluebonnet Bowl - CU’s first bowl appearance since the 1977 Orange Bowl. While his family gave him a good football foundation, Shinnick built it upon playing for then-CU head coach Bill McCartney, as well as some of the most respected college football coaches in the nation – Ken Hatfield (Arkansas/Clemson), Jerry Pettibone (Oregon State) and Dal Shealy (Richmond).
Making a smooth transition into the world of coaching, he began his career as an offensive line coach for Richmond under Shealy. Although producing just a 4-7 record during his initial campaign as a coach, the Spiders’ running backs tallied five 100-yard games behind an ever-improving offensive line, with lineman Howard Fahnestock taking home all-America honors at season’s end.
Shinnick then joined Hatfield during his final season with the Arkansas Razorbacks where he was a part of a defensive unit that allowed just 91 pass completions in registering a 10-2 record, a 7-1 league finish in a run to the 1989 Southwest Conference title and a trip to the 1990 Cotton Bowl. Hatfield would moved on to Clemson the following season, and brought Shinnick along for the ride.
In two more seasons under Hatfield at Clemson, the Tigers ranked as one of the best teams in the nation. As coach of the tight ends, Shinnick helped Clemson to a cumulative 19-4-1 record during his time in South Carolina, including two top 25 finishes – a No. 9 ranking in 1990 and a No. 17 listing in 1991.
The Tigers also made two bowl trips in Shinnick’s tenure, including a 30-0 win over Illinois in the 1990 Hall of Fame Bowl and a loss to Cal in the 1991 Citrus Bowl. Both Clemson teams were ranked wire-to-wire in the Associated Press poll, climbing as high as sixth after a 3-0 start in 1991.
Pettibone called in Shinnick in 1992 to coordinate Oregon State’s recruiting efforts. Two years later, he had put together the Beavers’ first-ever nationally ranked recruiting class. The class, which would eventually produce OSU’s 1998 senior class, featured a school-best eight all-star honorees and ranked 19th nationally and third in the Pacific-10 Conference. In two seasons with the Beavers, Shinnick was part of a staff that delivered improving Beaver teams, including the 1993 squad that posted victories over Arizona State and at Oregon, as well as a narrow home loss to then-19th ranked UCLA.
In 1994, NCAA Division II powerhouse Northern Michigan called on Shinnick to become offensive line coach and, that year, the Wildcats churned out 24 points a game behind a dominating front line. The next three seasons, more success followed Shinnick as offensive coordinator for St. Cloud (Minn.) State where he coached three all-Americans, including running back Randy Martin who scored seven touchdowns in a rout of Minnesota State-Mankato during Shinnick’s third and final season with the club.
In 1998, Shinnick made his way back toward his family on the west coast, joining Fred Whitmire’s staff at Humboldt State in northern California.
Shinnick received his first head coaching stint at Azusa Pacific in 1999 following the movement of Dal Shealy’s son, Vick, to UNLV. The next seven years produced a dominating run for the Cougars as Shinnick skippered the squad to a cumulative 53-22 record, including a 34-10 mark from 2002-05. A total of 77 school records were established under his watch at APU, with the Cougars appearing in 48 consecutive NAIA top 25 rankings during his last four seasons and 75 of 86 listings during his seven-year stint in Azusa. Those last four seasons, the Cougars averaged more than 23.5 points and 328 yards of total offense per outing.
The Cougars made five NAIA postseason appearances from 1999-05, including semifinal appearances in 1999 and 2004. Along the way, the enthusiastic and no-nonsense mentor also mentored 27 all-Americans and 11 academic all-Americans at APU. He was one of four finalists for the 2004 Schutt Sports coach of the year award.
Shinnick earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Colorado in 1988 and later earned his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Clemson in 1992. Administratively, he serves on various American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) committees, including the Rules and Ethics committee, and is a regular on the camps and clinics circuit. He is a 20-year member of the AFCA and has a lifetime involvement in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
Pete and his wife, Traci, recently celebrated their 20th wedding
anniversary and are the proud parents of four children - Anna (17),
Rachel (15), Elijah (12) and Benjamin (10). The family currently
resides in Lumberton.
THE SHINNICK FILE
1998: Richmond (Offensive Line)
1989: Arkansas, Graduate Assistant (Defensive Line)
1990-91: Clemson, Graduate Assistant (Tight Ends)
1992-93: Oregon State (Recruiting Coordinator)
1994: Northern Michigan (Offensive Line)
1995-97: St. Cloud (Minn.) State (Offensive Coordinator)
1998: Humboldt (Calif.) State (Offensive Line)
1999-05: Azusa Pacific (Head Coach)
2005-Present: UNC Pembroke (Head Coach)
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business (Colorado, 1988); Master’s degree in guidance and counseling (Clemson, 1992)