TN Sports 360

Walden up next as Govs head coach

APSU Athletics Communications

By Jimmy Trodglen

Editor

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – When Austin Peay announced Will Healy would be its next football coach in the early portion of 2016, it made Healy the second-youngest head football coach in Division I football.

Four years later, Austin Peay announced Scotty Walden as its next head football coach, making Walden the youngest coach in Division I football.

The 30-year-old Walden, the interim head coach at Southern Miss, will be introduced as the Govs football coach at a press conference at the Dunn Center Monday.

“Today, we welcome one of the most energetic and innovative young coaches in the country to lead our football team,” said Austin Peay athletics Director Gerald Harrison, in a university release Tuesday.

Harrison referred to Walden “as a new-age CEO for a new era of college football.”

Dating back to Healy’s hiring, Walden will be Austin Peay’s fourth head coach in that period.

Healy left following the 2018 season to become the head coach at Charlotte. His replacement, Mark Hudspeth, coached the Govs to the OVC championship last season and an quarterfinal appearance in the playoffs. Hudspeth unexpectedly resigned in July, forcing Austin Peay to name associate head coach Marquase Lovings as interim coach.

Under Lovings, Austin Peay went 0-3 this fall, with losses to Central Arkansas, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Walden will go to work immediately as the Govs turn their attention to the OVC portion of their schedule beginning in late February.

Walden’s path to Austin Peay

Walden was named Southern Miss’ interim coach after the first game of the 2020 season. The Golden Eagles defeated North Texas during his brief run as head coach.

Considered a rising offensive prodigy, Walden joined Southern Miss as wide receivers coach in 2017. His prowess resulted in him being named co-offensive coordinator before the 2019 season.

Walden coached receiver Quez Watkins, a sixth-round pick by the Eagles in the ’20 NFL draft. Southern Miss reached two bowl games during Walden’s tenure on the coaching staff.

In 2019 the American Football Coaches Association tabbed Walden as a Top 35 coach under the age of 35.

Before joining the Southern Miss coaching staff, Walden was head coach for one season at East Texas Baptist after serving as offensive coordinator for three seasons. He was also an offensive coordinator at Sul Ross State.

Jimmy Trodglen, editor, Twitter@Tnsports360

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