An interesting development took place on Saturday, when the University of West Florida Argonauts debuted at Blue Wahoos Stadium, a heralded Minor League Baseball ballpark.
First opening for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in 2012, Blue Wahoos Stadium is regarded as a fine Double-A facility. It has received several awards, including the 2016 Best of the Ballparks: Double-A prize on our sister site, Ballpark Digest. (We have also covered this story on Ballpark Digest.)
Now the ballpark is established as the full-time home of the UWF Argos. First announced by the university in 2013, the arrangement to use Blue Wahoos Stadium gives the team a full-time home as it plays its first season of competition in the Division II Gulf South Conference. While the Argos did play scrimmage games last fall, Saturday’s contest against Missouri S&T marked the program’s home debut.
On multiple levels, the night was a success. The Argos won by a final of 45-28, and attracted more than 6,000 fans. For some, this viewed not only as a major step for the young football program, but also for the facility it calls home. More from the Pensacola News Journal:
You may look back on Sept. 10, 2016 as the day that forever changed UWF.
The Argos went from no uniforms, no field, no players, no idea to creating a spectacle where 6,228 people crammed every open space at the bayfront stadium to see a football game.
A sellout and then some. Unless it was graduation day, UWF never had a day or way to connect to this many people.
The biggest winners Saturday weren’t wearing helmets.. UWF president Judy Bense made this happen from the UWF standpoint. And Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer made this happen from a partnership standpoint.
They have a lot in common. Both know what it’s like go against the grain. To rely on their own resolve.
Make no mistake, without Blue Wahoos Stadium, without all this venue has done for this community, Saturday never happens for UWF.
Under terms that were finalized in 2014, the Argos will use Blue Wahoos Stadium for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, with annual options potentially extending that agreement.
Image courtesy UWF Argos.