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Southern Miss interim HC Walden tests positive for COVID-19

An already rocky start to the 2020 football season for Southern Miss took another serious turn Tuesday, when interim head football coach Scotty Walden was revealed to have tested positive for COVID-19.

“(Coach) Walden tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday morning,” Golden Eagles athletics said in a statement, “and his status remains unclear for this weekend’s non-conference game at Liberty.”

As Nick Saban proved last week, an initial positive test for the global pandemic coronavirus does not necessarily preclude a coach from being able to coach in his upcoming game. Alabama's Saban tested positive last Wednesday, but three-straight negative tests allowed Saban to coach the Tide to a 41-24 win against then-No. 3 Georgia last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Walden has been the Southern Miss interim head coach since the school moved on from Jay Hopson after a season-opening loss to South Alabama.

According to the USM release, Walden left the Duff Athletic Center Tuesday morning to self-isolate at his home after a positive antigen test. A subsequent test, known as a PCR test (Polymeras Chain Reaction) on Wednesday to confirm his status.

Until then, Walden will oversee the squad’s activities remotely from home, per the school.

“Earlier this morning I tested positive for COVID-19,” said Walden. “I am fine and have mild to no symptoms. I am quarantining back home until it is safe to rejoin the team.

“I want to thank Golden Eagle Nation for all of their support for our program during this difficult period. I want to thank our players and staff for continuing to be incredibly resilient during such an unstable time.

“Our team will continue to work diligently in preparation for our game this Saturday against Liberty.”

Walden has gone 1-2 as the Golden Eagles' interim coach, with a win against North Texas and losses to Louisiana Tech and Tulane. The program's two most recent contests, scheduled against Florida Atlantic (Oct. 10) and UTEP (Oct. 17) were postponed.