UWF Football Builds Sense of Community
September 6, 2017 | Martha D. Saunders, Ph.D.
For many years, the University of West Florida was a hidden gem – even from people who live in Pensacola. Our beautiful campus seemed to be a world away from Pensacola itself. Over time, we became better known in our region and our town. Now it’s time to ensure that when people come to Pensacola, they know they are in a college town.
In the fall, especially in the South, Saturdays mean college football. In college towns, you quickly see ample evidence of community support. Cars have flags in the school’s colors, people wear team shirts and hats and school banners fly from the light poles. Football brings the campus and community together.
Football plays a unique role in college athletics in that it creates a common identity among students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community itself. Everyone wants to root for the home team, and UWF delivers with 24 teammates from our area.
Last year, UWF brought college football to Pensacola. We were the underdogs in our conference – an unknown element in NCAA Division II. We had an amazing season and finished with five victories, which tied for the most games won by a first-year team in Division II over the last 10 years. Three of our home games at the Blue Wahoos Stadium sold out and more than 31,000 fans attended our home games with an average attendance of 6,328. UWF’s first football season contributed $5.53 million to the region’s economy. We even had our first player, Anas Hasic, sign as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs. Pretty good for a first-year team, don’t you think?
On campus, our students are enjoying having more of the traditional college experience with the addition of football. We can give them the best of both worlds with our small class size combined with the fun of cheering the team on to victory. It’s a great way to connect and create memories that they will take with them.
This year we’re bringing the excitement and spirit of camaraderie back to downtown Pensacola. Our team has been hard at work, practicing in the August heat to get ready for this year’s games. Our first home game will be Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. against Midwestern State. We hope you’ll not just come to the game but arrive early and get into the spirit at the tailgate parties outside the stadium. Join us for the Argo Walk when our mascot, Argie the Argonaut, leads us into the stadium. I’m hoping to see a sea of UWF’s signature green and blue colors in the stands.
The home games give us a chance to show off our beautiful town to the fans from the other teams. Let’s show them some great Southern hospitality. Welcome them to our hometown and talk to them about things they can do while they are here.
This year the Argonaut football team will introduce UWF and Pensacola to a much wider audience through national broadcasts on ESPN3. Our away game on Oct. 28 against West Alabama and our home game on Nov. 4 against North Alabama will introduce more people to UWF, Pensacola and the beautiful Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Join with us this year and root for the hometown team. If you need a shirt or hat to wear to the game, check out the Argo Fan Store at 10015 N. Davis Hwy. or the UWF Bookstore on campus. You can still be loyal to your favorite Division I team. We don’t mind a bit.