Clarksville, TN – After winning the inaugural ASUN Conference Football Championship, Austin Peay State University (APSU) head football coach Scotty Walden has agreed to a contract extension through the 2025 season, APSU Vice President and Athletics Director Gerald Harrison announced Tuesday.
“It was a no-brainer to extend Coach Walden after he won the ASUN Conference Championship in his first year in the league,” said Harrison. “With Scotty at the helm, our football team has become one of the top programs in the FCS both on the field and in the classroom. Scotty is the right man for the job, and I look forward to watching him lead this program into the next era of Austin Peay football.”
In 2022, Walden coached the top defense in the ASUN Conference, with the Governors ranking fourth in the FCS in third-down conversion defense (.308), 12th in total defense (317.2 ypg), 19th in passing defense (188.7 pypg), and 32nd in scoring defense (22.2 ppg) – they led the conference in all four categories. The Govs also ranked second in the ASUN and 20th in the FCS in rushing defense, holding opponents to 128.5 yards on the ground per game.
On offense, Austin Peay averaged 202.3 rushing yards and 243.3 passing yards per game, marking the first time in program history the Govs averaged 200-plus rushing and passing yards per game in the same season. Quarterback Mike DiLiello became just the fourth Governor to throw 20 touchdowns and the seventh to pass for 2,000 yards in a season when he recorded 2,447 passing yards and 21 passing touchdowns.
“It is an honor to serve Austin Peay as its head football coach,” said Walden. “I am beyond excited about this extension and the faith that President Michael Licari and Vice President and Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison have entrusted to me to lead our program. This is not a reflection of the success I’ve had, but the success of our players and staff on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. I want to thank our players and staff for their hard work daily and for their commitment to excellence. We will continue to stay committed to giving Austin Peay and Clarksville, Tennessee, a football program it can be proud of. From the bottom of our hearts, Callie, Luca, and I are honored and thrilled to be here at Austin Peay and be a part of the Clarksville community! Let’s Go Peay!”
Walden has posted three-straight winning seasons in Clarksville, winning 60.7 percent of his games en route to a 17-11 overall record. The Governors also have won 64.7 percent of their conference games, posting an 11-6 record between Ohio Valley and ASUN Conference contests.
Despite having coached just three seasons at Austin Peay State University, Walden’s 17 wins are already tied for the seventh most in program history. Walden is tied with Roy Gregory and is two victories behind Bill Schmitz and Fred D. Brown for fifth all-time – Gregory, Schmitz, and Brown all needed six seasons to reach their respective win totals.
With three more wins, Walden would match Rick Christophel – who also coached for six seasons – for the fourth-most wins in program history while becoming just the fifth head coach to win 20 games at Austin Peay.
In all five semesters since Walden arrived, the APSU football team has posted a team grade-point average of 3.00, 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, which are presented annually in each of the 17 conference-sponsored sports to the member institution’s team with the greatest percentage of its eligible student-athletes who achieved a 3.25 GPA or higher.
In three seasons at the helm, Walden has had 28 players earn all-conference honors and four earn all-newcomer recognition. During the 2020-21 season, DeAngelo Wilson became the third player in program history to be named the OVC Offensive Player of the Year and Draylen Ellis became the second Governor named OVC Freshman of the Year. The following year, Koby Perry was named the 2021 OVC Defensive Player of the Year, making him the third Gov to receive that award and the first since 1978.
Walden also has coached four Consensus All-America selections – Kordell Jackson (2020), Wilson (2020), Johnathon Edwards (2021), and Perry (2021) – during his time in Clarksville. Bucky Williams also was an American Football Coaches Association Second Team All-American and a HERO Sports Sophomore All-American in 2020; while Ellis and Terrell Allen received Sophomore All-America honors in 2021. Finally, Drae McCray picked up HERO Sports All-America honors in 2021.
APSU football has particularly excelled on the defensive side of the football under Walden, with Jackson (2020), Perry (2021), and Antoine Williams (2022) being finalists for the Stats Perform Buck Buchanan Award – which is annually presented to the national defensive player of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision – in three-straight seasons.
The 21st head coach in Austin Peay history, Walden was the youngest head coach at the Division I level when he was hired at 30 years old.
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