Update: The hire has been made official. Walden will be introduced at a press conference on Monday, Nov. 2.
“Today, we welcome one of the most energetic and innovative young coaches in the country to lead our football team,” said AD Gerald Harrison. “In Coach Walden, we have found a man who is passionate about the student-athlete experience, energized about being part of the university and Clarksville-Montgomery County community, and excited to join us in our relentless pursuit of excellence.
“Scotty is a new-age CEO for a new era of college football. He is a tireless worker, a motivator, a dogged recruiter, and a person who possesses an infectious personality that will lead us back to the OVC Championship and beyond. I am thrilled to welcome Scotty, Callie, and Luca to the Austin Peay family, and I look forward to our opportunity to officially welcome them Monday.”
“Callie, Luca, and I are incredibly blessed and thankful to be a part of the Governor family,” said Walden. “Becoming the head football coach for an up-and-coming program like Austin Peay is a dream come true for myself and my family.”
Austin Peay will name Scotty Walden its interim head coach, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.
Walden is currently the interim head coach at Southern Miss, a position he has held since Sept. 7 following Jay Hopson’s resignation. He missed the Golden Eagles’ loss to Liberty last Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19. Assistant head coach Tim Billings led the team in that game as the interim interim head coach, and will now continue in that role for the remainder of the season. The 1-4 Eagles host Rice on Saturday.
An interim head coach leaving to take over the full-time head coaching position at another school is, obviously, without precedent in college football.
This will be the third head coaching position for Walden, who turns 31 next month. He served as East Texas Baptist’s head coach in 2016, leading the Tigers to a 7-3 record as the youngest head coach in the NCAA at that time. He joined the Southern Miss staff following that season.
An AFCA 35 Under 35 honoree, Walden rose to prominence as a 22-year-old at Sul Ross State, moving from quarterback to offensive coordinator and immediately leading the entire NCAA in total yardage. He was profiled by FootballScoop in 2013.
Austin Peay played three games this fall — including the first college football game of the season, the FCS Kickoff vs. Central Arkansas — and will resume play Feb. 21 at Tennessee Tech. The Governors won the Ohio Valley championship last season and advanced to the FCS quarterfinals, thus far the pinnacle for a program that won a single game across the entire 2013, ’14, ’15 and ’16 seasons.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Sources: Southern Miss interim coach Scotty Walden will be the next coach at Austin Peay. He will leave immediately and Southern Miss assistant Tim Billings will be the school's third head coach this season.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) October 27, 2020
Sources: #AustinPeay is expected to hire #SouthernMiss interim head coach Scotty Walden as its next coach. Walden was head coach at East Texas Baptist in 2016 before joining Southern Miss as an assistant. He tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 27, 2020