Austin Peay head coach Scotty Walden is reportedly set to be named the 27th coach in UTEP football program history, first reported by FootballScoop and later by outlets like ESPN, Action Network and Dave Campbell's Texas Football.

Walden, who is just 34 years old, is coming off four winning seasons at the FCS level with Austin Peay, where he went 26-14 overall as the program's fourth-winningest coach in team history. He's won a pair of conference titles in his quick ascension as head coach and when he was initially hired at APSU, he was the youngest coach in Division I history at 30. He will be the second youngest coach in FBS behind Kenny Dillingham (33) at Arizona State.

Prior to his time with the Governors, he spent four seasons at Southern Mississippi and even became their interim head coach in 2020. With the Golden Eagles in CUSA, Walden moved up from wide receivers coach to offensive coordinator.

The Texas native was born in Cleburne, Texas, and played college football at Hardin-Simmons (2009-10) and Sul Ross State (2011). In fact, he coached at the Texas high school football level at East Texas Baptist, which serves him well in recruiting to West Texas.

Offensively, the 2023 Austin Peay squad set a record for averaging 38.8 points per game and ranked ninth in FCS in scoring offense. They were also 10th in the nation for total offense, averaging 438.3 yards per game. Meanwhile, the Miners averaged just 20 points per game and 239 yards in 2023.

Getty Images
Getty Images

The weekend unfolded in an interesting manner

Kudos to UTEP for being as quiet on the hire as possible. On Friday, the rumors swirled regarding the athletic department zeroing in on four candidates—Walden, Brennan Marion (UNLV OC), Eric Price and Kenny Perry (Texas Tech associate head coach). Another name in Zach Kittley (Texas Tech offensive coordinator) emerged as a possible candidate over the weekend as well.

Walden and Marion appeared to be the favorites, with Marion interviewing in El Paso on Sunday after UNLV's Mountain West Championship game on Saturday.

Then on Monday morning, the news dropped of Walden being named head coach.

He will be tasked with resurrecting a program that needs a culture change. The Miners are coming off a 3-9 campaign. They fired Dana Dimel, who had one year left on his contract through the 2024 season, but only had one winning season in six seasons of being in El Paso.

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