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UTEP Hires Cleburne High School Alumni as New Football Head Coach

Coach Scotty Walden

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has appointed Scotty Walden as the new head coach for their football team. Walden, a Cleburne High School graduate and former quarterback for the Cleburne Jackets, brings a reputation as one of the most innovative and energetic coaches in the nation.

Walden, a member of the CHS Class of 2008, was officially introduced as the new leader of the Miner football team during a campus press conference on Wednesday. With an overall head coaching record of 34-20, Walden spent three successful seasons at Tennessee’s Austin Peay State University before joining UTEP.

UTEP Vice-President and Director of Athletics, Jim Senter, expressed enthusiasm about Walden's coaching style, emphasizing his fast-paced and high-scoring offenses, along with opportunistic defenses. Senter believes Miner fans will enjoy watching Walden's teams on the field and looks forward to a new era of UTEP football.

Walden returns to Texas for his second stint as a college head football coach, having previously led East Texas Baptist University in 2016. Known for making headlines as the youngest head coach in NCAA football at the age of 26, Walden's coaching journey also includes positions at Southern Miss and Austin Peay, where he achieved back-to-back winning seasons and conference titles.

Former Cleburne Jackets Freshman Football Coach, Greg Funderburk, commended Walden's leadership qualities, describing him as a natural-born leader who is committed and determined. Funderburk is excited to see Walden's impact on UTEP football, noting that Walden's qualities as a coach were evident during his time as a student-athlete at Cleburne High School.

Walden expressed gratitude to his former CHS head coach, Phil Young, for serving as a father figure and inspiring him to become a coach. Married to fellow Cleburne graduate Callie (Phelps) Walden, they have one son, and a second son is due in February.

UTEP President Dr. Heather Wilson, a member of the selection committee, highlighted Walden's alignment with the university's values. She emphasized the desire for a coach who not only focuses on Xs and Os but also inspires integrity and character development in players. Dr. Wilson believes Walden will excel in fostering persistence and resilience among the players while maintaining a clean program.

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