2023 West Florida vs Delta State

West Florida Football In 2023: What To Know About The Argonauts

West Florida Football In 2023: What To Know About The Argonauts

The University of West Florida football team returns in 2023 as a member of the Gulf South Conference. Here’s what to know about the program.

Oct 3, 2023 by Matt Cannizzaro

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Though the University of West Florida football team stumbled out of the gates in their 2016 debut, the Argonauts quickly have become one of the country’s most successful Division II programs.

The Argos were 5-6 in their first campaign, but they went on to win nine or more games four times in their six full seasons of existence, including a run to the national title in 2019.

In 2022, UWF posted a 9-1 regular-season record and claimed a share of the Gulf South Conference title (with Delta State) by going 6-1 in GSC games. 

The success helped the Argos into the postseason for the fourth time, and they advanced to the Division II national semifinals, where they were defeated by eventual national champion Ferris State, 38-17.

West Florida finished the season with a 12-2 record, which included playoff wins over Limestone, Delta State and Wingate.

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Now, as the Argos begin their quest for a third consecutive conference title and a fourth straight trip to the postseason, they’ll be doing so without the only head coach they’ve ever known.

After six full seasons with the team (2016-2022), plus two additional years of planning, Pete Shinnick left West Florida to become the head football coach at Towson. 

Not long after Shinnick’s departure, former UWF football player and coach, Kaleb Nobles, was announced as the new head coach at UWF.

UWF finished the 2022 season ranked No. 4 in the final American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.

In 2023, the Gulf South Conference will include nine teams (up from eight) and return three that finished with winning records in 2022. Among the returning teams are the University of West Florida and Delta State. 

While West Florida finished 2022 with a 12-2 overall record, Delta State was 11-2.

Gulf South football action will be streamed live on FloFootball and the FloSports app, including all of West Florida’s Gulf South games.

Here’s What To Know About The University Of West Florida Football:

What Year Did West Florida Start Playing Football?

The University of West Florida football team played its first season in 2016 under the guidance of Pete Shinnick. Football was the 15th varsity sport at UWF.

Though the Argonauts were just 5-6 in their inaugural season, success quickly followed. In six seasons of play, the team is 56-21 (31-15 in Gulf South Conference) and has won nine or more games four times. 

The first game, and win, in school history was a 45-0 rout of Ave Marla on Sept. 3, 2016. The Argos scored 90 points on the way to a 2-0 start that season.

In What Division Of College Football Does West Florida Play? 

The University of West Florida football team plays at the NCAA Division II level.

How Many Times Has UWF Football Made It To The Playoffs?

The University of West Florida football team has made it to the Division II Playoffs four times in six opportunities–2017, 2019, 2021, 2022.

In 2017, West Florida picked up its first postseason victory—a 31-0 win over Wingate—then topped West Georgia, West Alabama and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, before falling to Texas A&M-Commerce in the Division II championship game (37-27).

In 2019, West Florida cruised through Super Region 2 with wins over Wingate, Valdosta State and Lenoir-Rhyne, then defeated Ferris State and Minnesota State in the semifinals and final, respectively, to secure the Argos’ first football national title.

In 2021, on the heels of its first co-conference title, West Florida was ousted from the opening round of the playoffs by Newberry.

In 2022, the Argos advanced to the national semifinals, where they fell to eventual champion Ferris State, 38-17.

When Did West Florida Football Join The Gulf South Conference?

The University of West Florida football team immediately began playing in the Gulf South Conference in its inaugural season of 2016. 

Has West Florida Football Ever Won The Gulf South Title?

Yes, the University of West Florida football team won the Gulf South title in 2021 (shared with Valdosta State) and 2022 (shared with Delta State).

Who Is The West Florida Football Head Coach?

Kaleb Nobles is the new man in charge at the University of West Florida, and he has some big shoes to fill following the departure of Pete Shinnick (2016-2022).

Nobles is the second head coach in the team’s short history, as Shinnick was responsible for building the program and leading the Argos onto the field for the first time in 2016 – and every year/game since. 

Shinnick was 56-21 at UWF, with four playoff appearances, two Gulf South titles (shared) and a Division II national championship.

The announcement of Nobles’ hiring was made in December 2022, after Shinnick announced he’d be departing to be the head football coach at Towson.

Though Nobles played football at Valdosta State from 2012-2015, he transferred to UWF in 2016 and was part of the Argos’ inaugural effort as the team’s quarterback. He had six games with at least 300 passing yards.

Nobles then spent three seasons with the Argonauts as their quarterbacks coach (2017-2020), before being named offensive coordinator in May 2020. As the Argos’ made their bid for the national title in 2017, Nobles worked daily with the quarterbacks. 

Nobles also spent time as the director of football operations. 

Before taking the top role at UWF, Nobles spent two seasons at Clemson, where he helped with offensive player development and worked with quarterbacks and wide receivers. He helped Clemson to the 2022 ACC title.

Who Is West Florida Football’s Biggest Rival? 

While it may be a little too soon for a formal rivalry, West Florida and Delta State do have a little bit of history.

They’ve played each year since West Florida’s debut in 2016 and even met twice in 2022. They’ve played seven games in all, with West Florida holding a 4-3 advantage.

In their first meeting last season, Delta State escaped a two-overtime thriller, winning 45-42. The Argos repaid the favor when it mattered most, eliminating DSU from the second round of the playoffs, 38-27.

Where West Florida Argonauts Play Football?

From the start of the football program in 2016, the University of West Florida Argonauts played their home games at Blue Wahoos Stadium. The venue is the home of minor league baseball team the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins.

Having their own venue on the school campus is a way to get more investment and involvement from the students at UWF, whole also avoiding the possibility of an extended baseball season. 

Starting with the 2022 season, the Argos played their home games on campus at Pen Air Field. That will be the plan again for 2023, and the planning for a more permanent option will continue.

Where Is The University Of West Florida?

The University of West Florida is located in Pensacola, Florida, part of the state’s famed Panhandle. The school was established in 1963, and the doors finally opened in 1967.

Notable University Of West Florida Alums

The University of West Florida has turned out a number of professional athletes, including: Daniela Cruz (women’s soccer), Mark Ettles (baseball), Roy Jones Jr. (boxing), Moochie Norris (basketball) and Cole Filler (hockey). 

Non-sports alumni include Tandy (Andy) Culpepper (CNN correspondent), Namrata Singh Gujral (actress), David Hart (actor) and Jim Buchili, Kenneth Cockrell, John Phillips, Bryan Daniel O’Connor and Richard Richards (astronauts).

West Florida Football Schedule 2023

  • Sept. 1: Kentucky Wesleyan, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports

  • Sept. 9: at McKendree, 2 p.m. ET
  • Sept. 16: at Florida A&M, 6 p.m. ET
  • Sept. 23: West Georgia, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 30: at North Greenville, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 7: Shorter, 5 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 14: at West Alabama, 5 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 21: at Delta State, 4 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 28: Valdosta State, 5 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Nov. 4: at Mississippi College, 3 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Nov. 11: Chowan, 2 p.m. ET, FloSports