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UTEP hires Scotty Walden as head coach

The former Southern Miss interim head coach gets another CUSA opportunity in El Paso.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Southern Mississippi Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The UTEP Miners officially announced the hire of Scotty Walden as the program’s 27th head coach Monday, thus concluding an 8-day coaching search.

“Miner Nation, my family and I are beyond thankful and blessed for the opportunity to lead the UTEP Miner Football program!” Walden said in a statement. “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 succeeds Dana Dimel, who was fired on Nov. 26 after posting a 20-49 record in six seasons. He last served as the head coach for FCS program Austin Peay, leading the program to back-to-back conference championships in 2022 and 2023. He is the second Austin Peay head coach to move directly into a Conference USA head coaching role, following in the footsteps of former Charlotte head coach Will Healy, who made the leap in 2019.

Prior to his four-year stint at Austin Peay, Walden served as the interim head coach for Southern Miss in the 2020 pandemic-altered season. Head coach Jay Hopson resigned from the program after the opener and Walden coached the next four games, posting a 1-3 record with the Golden Eagles before accepting the Austin Peay job midseason. Tim Billings served as the third and final head coach of Southern Miss in an unprecedented season. The Golden Eagles held CUSA membership in that 2020 season and Walden will be making a return to his former conference.

Walden was 30 years old during that brief stint leading Southern Miss. Now at 34 (born Nov. 15, 1989), Walden is the second-youngest FBS head coach, only trailing Arizona State’s Kenny Dillingham who turns 34 in April.

Walden becomes reacquainted with the state of Texas after playing quarterback for Division III programs Hardin-Simmons and Sul Ross within the state boundaries from 2009-11. His first coaching gig was offensive coordinator at Sul Ross in 2012 and he spent the next four seasons at East Texas Baptist in Division III — offensive coordinator from 2013-15 and head coach in 2016. In 2017, he finally received his first FBS job as a receivers coach at Southern Miss, before working his way into a co-offensive coordinator role, and eventually, an interim head coach.

The Walden era in El Paso officially launches Saturday, Aug. 31 in a road matchup at Nebraska.