When Jay Hopson’s resignation as Southern Miss head football coach became official on Monday, Interim Head Coach Scotty Walden said he had less than half an hour to get his head right before he addressed the team for the first time.
It’s been a whirlwind ever since for the 30-year-old Walden, the youngest division I FBS head coach in America, still less than 72 hours into his new position.
However, this is all part of the territory for Walden, who has already been the youngest NCAA head coach at the age of 26 during his time at division III East Texas Baptist University.
Known for his high energy demeanor, Walden says he learned a lot from Coach Hopson and is ready to bring it all full circle. “It means everything to me, and especially a program like Southern Miss. And I don’t say that just because I’m here. I’ll never forget when I was in college, I watched the 2011 Southern Miss conference championship game against Houston. And I watched it because – honestly – I loved Case Keenum, I loved their offense and I was like, man, this is going to be a good game to watch. I fell in love with the Black and Gold that game because of the way they played, man. When I watched that game I had known about Southern Miss, but when I watched that game I was like, man, that’s big time football right there. So to be sitting here as a Division I head football coach at a place like this, not something I take lightly – something I take a lot of pride in. And I know the expectations are high here, and we want to do everything in our power to uphold that.”
Prior to being named interim head coach, Walden was serving as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.