Scotty Walden Named UTEP Head Football Coach

EL PASO, Texas – Scotty Walden, native Texan and one of the most dynamic young head coaches in the country, was named UTEP Football’s 27th head coach on Monday.

“Coach Walden impressed us with his competitive mindset and his focus on developing young leaders of character,” UTEP President Heather Wilson said. “We think he will be a good fit for UTEP and El Paso.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Scotty, Callie and Luca Walden back home to the Lone Star State,” UTEP Vice President and Director of Athletics Jim Senter said. “He is one of the most innovative and energetic young coaches in the nation. He will put a product on the field that Miner fans will love to watch. His teams are characterized by fast-paced and high-scoring offenses and opportunistic defenses. He did a remarkable job establishing the team culture at Austin Peay, guiding a group of fine young men and building a championship program in a very short period of time. We can’t be more excited to launch a new era of Miner Football.”

“Miner Nation, my family and I are beyond thankful and blessed for the opportunity to lead the UTEP Miner Football program!” Walden said. “Thank you, Dr. Heather Wilson and Director of Athletics Jim Senter for their belief in me and our vision for Miner Football. Callie, Luca and I look forward to developing meaningful relationships with the great people of El Paso and being involved in the community. We are committed to bringing El Paso, Texas a football program that they can be proud of, both on and off the field. We are going to bring a brand of football to UTEP that is Fearless, Fast and Physical! We have the greatest stadium in Group of Five Football in the Sun Bowl, and we look forward to having YOU there to make it the best environment in college football! God Bless and Go Miners!”

Walden, 34, joins the Miners after four seasons as the head coach at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. This year, he led the Governors to a 9-3 record, a perfect 6-0 mark in the United Athletic Conference, and a no. 13 FCS national ranking. It marked the first undefeated conference season in school history. He was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, presented by FedEx Ground and Stats Perform to the FCS National Coach of the Year.  Austin Peay has won four conference titles since 1977 – with two coming under Walden’s watch. He is the only coach to lead Austin Peay to two conference championships.

The Cleburne, Texas native led the Governors to a 26-14 mark with four winning seasons (4-2 in COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign, 6-5 in 2021, 7-4 in 2022, 9-3 in 2023). The Governors hadn’t enjoyed back-to-back winning campaigns since 1983-84 prior to Walden’s arrival. His career head coaching record is 34-20, including 7-3 in one season heading up the program at East Texas Baptist University in 2016. Walden was also interim head coach at Southern Miss for four games in 2020.

The 2023 Austin Peay squad ranked fourth nationally in passing efficiency (162.17), ninth in scoring offense (34.1 ppg), 11th in passing completion percentage (.667), 13th in passing offense (274.1 ypg) and 15th in total offense (426.8 ypg). The Governors set school records for scoring offense, total offense and passing offense. Austin Peay also rated seventh in the country in third down conversion defense with a stingy .303 percentage, and the Governors’ three defensive touchdowns ranked 12th nationally. Austin Peay’s special teams unit was equally stellar, leading the country in punt returns with a 21.3-yard average.

Austin Peay rattled off a school-record nine consecutive wins after opening the season 0-2, including a 30-13 setback at then-ninth ranked Tennessee on Sept. 9. Playing before over 100,000 hostile fans, the Governors were tied with the Vols, 6-6, shortly before halftime and trailed by 10 points (23-13) midway through the fourth quarter.

In 2022, Walden led the Governors to the third conference title in program history. Austin Peay was the top defense in the ASUN Conference, ranking fourth in the FCS in third down conversion percentage defense (.308), 12th in total defense (317.2 ypg), 19th in passing defense (188.7 ypg) and 20th in rushing defense (128.5 ypg). Offensively, Austin Peay averaged 202.3 rushing yards and 243.3 passing yards per game, marking the first time in program history that the Governors averaged 200-plus rushing and passing yards per game in the same season.

In 2021, the Governors tied a school record with seven First Team All-OVC selections and 14 total All-OVC picks.

While at Austin Peay, Walden has coached four consensus All-America honorees – Kordell Jackson (2020), DeAngelo Wilson (2020), Johnathon Edwards (2021) and Koby Perry (2021). Bucky Williams was an American Football Coaches Association Second Team All-American and a HERO Sports Sophomore All-American in 2020. Draylen Ellis and Terrell Allen received Sophomore All-America honors in 2021. Drae McCray was also tabbed a HERO Sports All-America in 2021.

Walden has also coached 28 All-Conference players and four league All-Newcomer selections during his time at Austin Peay.

His teams have also excelled academically.  In five of six semesters since Walden’s arrival, the Governors posted a 3.0 cumulative team grade point average, including a program record 3.28 GPA during the spring 2022 semester. The Governors also claimed the 2020-21 and 2021-22 OVC Team Academic Achievement Awards.

After joining the Southern Miss staff as wide receivers coach in 2017, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator for the 2019 season. In 2019, the American Football Coaches Association tabbed Walden as a Top 35 coach under 35 years of age. He coached first team All-Conference USA selection wideout Quez Watkins, who led the league with 64 catches and 1,178 receiving yards (17th in the FBS). Watkins’ 107.1 receiving yards per game also ranked sixth in the FBS. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by Philadelphia, and has appeared in 45 games for the Eagles with 23 starts since then.

Walden took over for Jay Hopson as interim head coach at Southern Miss in September of 2020, and was hired by Austin Peay as head coach shortly thereafter.

Walden was the youngest head coach in the NCAA (26 years old) at the time of his hiring at East Texas Baptist. He directed the Tigers to a national ranking in a school-record nine consecutive weeks, climbing as high as no. 15. East Texas Baptist also generated the no. 1 scoring offense (49.9 points per game) for all levels of the NCAA and the no. 2 total offense in Division III (school-record 564.3 yards per game).

Walden was offensive coordinator at East Texas Baptist for three years (2013-15) prior to being elevated to head coach. In his time as an assistant, ETBU football players broke a combined 26 individual and team records. One of his protégés was wide receiver Jamaine Sherman, a first team All-Conference honoree who became the first player in school history to sign an NFL contract with the St. Louis Rams in 2014.

He got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Sul Ross State, serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2012 season. His team broke 16 offensive school records in 2012, including most yards in a game (800) and points in a game (75). The Lobos ranked no. 1 in Division III in total offense (581.9 ypg), no. 2 in first downs (271), no. 3 in scoring offense (48.8 ppg), no. 9 in passing efficiency (164.30), no. 11 in passing offense (333 ypg) and no. 19 in rushing offense (248.9 ypg). Walden coached six All-Conference players, two D3football.com All-Americans and one Beyond Sports Network All-American.

He began his college playing days at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa (2008), where he was named the starting quarterback as a freshman. His career continued at Hardin-Simmons University (2009-10), where he doubled as a quarterback and defensive back, before concluding at Sul Ross State as a quarterback and team captain in 2011.

He earned his Bachelor of History, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from Sul Ross State in 2012. He added a Master of Education, graduating Summa Cum Laude, from Sul Ross State in 2014.

Walden and his wife, Callie have a son, Luca.

Scotty Walden’s Career Head Coaching Record 

SEASON        SCHOOL                    OVERALL W-L          CONF. W-L

2016                East Texas Baptist       7-3                               3-3 (4th)

2020                Southern Miss             1-3                               1-1

2020-21           Austin Peay                 4-2                               4-2 (3rd)

2021                Austin Peay                 6-5                               4-2 (t-2nd)

2022                Austin Peay                 7-4                               3-2 (t-1st)

2023                Austin Peay                 9-3                               6-0 (1st)

TOTALS                                               34-20                           21-10