Scotty Walden woke up Tuesday as the (interim) head coach at Southern Miss. He went to bed as the head coach at Austin Peay.
It's a rare move in an unprecedented time, a head coach leaving his team mid-season for another team that's months away from playing its own season. Adding to the rarity, Walden missed what turned out to be his final game at Southern Miss; after testing positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 20, Walden did not accompany his team to Lynchburg for the Golden Eagles' 56-35 loss to Liberty.
So on Wednesday Walden released his farewell to Hattiesburg, a final message to the Southern Miss faithful as he prepares to take over the Austin Peay program full-time beginning on Monday.
"Today, we welcome one of the most energetic and innovative young coaches in the country to lead our football team," Austin Peay AD Gerald Harrison said Tuesday. "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."
"We are excited for Scotty and his family as they begin this new journey and we wish them nothing but the best," said Southern Miss AD Jeremy McClain. "As we adjust, I have asked Tim Billings to take over the interim head coach role and I have full confidence in his ability to successfully lead our team for the rest of the season."
Southern Miss, having endured two postponed games in addition to two coaching changes thus far this season, hosts Rice on Saturday.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.