ETBU hires Highsmith as new football coach

MARSHALL, Texas – Staying within the current football family, East Texas Baptist University has announced the hiring of Scott Highsmith as the next head coach. He becomes the fifth head coach since the program was restarted in 2000 and replaces Scotty Walden who left for an NCAA Division I position.

“Today, we appointed God’s man to lead East Texas Baptist Tiger Football.  I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with our new head coach, Scott Highsmith, in the building of young men in faith, character, and leadership,” says ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn. “Coach Highsmith understands and has lived out what it means to be a Christian coach, committed to using sports as the avenue to transform the lives of student athletes.  Coach Highsmith believes in building a program that reflects Christ’s standard for excellence, and brings glory to God.”

Highsmith is no stranger to East Texas and the Tiger Tempo style offense. The past two years he has coached the wide receivers and last year was the passing game coordinator and has also coached at Hallsville High School (2007-10). This past year, he was a part of the top scoring offense the led all of NCAA and in 2015 he was on staff of the American Southwest Conference tri-championship team. His 38 years of football knowledge comes from experiences as a coach at several Texas high schools and at the NCAA Division I, II, III, and NAIA levels.

“I am eternally grateful to Dr. Blackburn and our athletic director Ryan Erwin for giving me the opportunity to be the head football coach at East Texas Baptist University. My goal and agenda is nothing short of making this program the ultimate example of how a Christ centered program should be run. We are committed to spiritual, academic, and athletic excellence as we carry out the mission of ETBU,” says Highsmith.

Continuing the tradition of Tiger Tempo football, Highsmith knows fast-paced football. He has coached under Hal Mumme and learned the “Air Raid” offense while being a part of the “RPO” Tiger Tempo offense that Walden ran the last four years at ETBU. He spent time under Mumme learning about the high potent offense at the University of Kentucky (1999-2000) and Southeastern Louisiana (2005-06).

“We are excited to announce Scott Highsmith as the fifth head coach of the ETBU Tiger Football program," Vice President for Athletics Ryan Erwin said. "Coach Highsmith has been an integral part of the record breaking offense at ETBU the past two seasons and after reviewing a number of candidates from across the country, Coach Highsmith was the one candidate we felt was the best fit for East Texas Baptist University because of his experience, familiarity with the program, and his commitment to Christ-centered athletics. His passion and love for the game is contagious and his dedication to excellence and his faith is what we are looking for as the leader of ETBU Football."


Highsmith is also very excited about the future of the ETBU football program. ETBU has over 80 players committed for next season along with the offensive and defensive talent coming back from last season’s 7-3 team. The recruiting class that is coming in for the 2017 season is one of the most talented and largest classes ETBU has had since 2000.


“We have put together a tremendous recruiting class and I am excited to see what the future holds with these incoming athletes,” says Highsmith.

At the NCAA Division II leve,l Highsmith has coached at Southeastern Oklahoma State and McMurry University (then a D2 program). At the NAIA level, he was an assistant and head coach at Belhaven University. In two seasons at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, he served as the quarterbacks coach, recruiter and director of fundraising. In 2013, SEOSU went 7-5 and played in the Live United Bowl. Prior to SEOSU, he spent two seasons at McMurry University as the running backs coach helping the Warhawks to an 8-3 season and winning the C.H.A.M.P.S Heart of Texas Bowl over Southern Arkansas. His first-ever collegiate coaching job came as a student assistant at Howard Payne University in 1977.

Highsmith became a head coach in 2003 at Belhaven University and won eight games in two seasons. Belhaven competed in the tough Mid-South Conference and in those two years he produced four NAIA All-Americans. His offense in 2002 (assistant coach) and 2003 (head coach) led the NAIA in passing.

He has made high school coach stops at Hallsville High School, Bryan High School, Terrell High School, Kilgore High School, Denton High School, and R.L. Turner High School.

Highsmith has coached several eventual National Football League players, including Ty Warren (New England Patriots, 1988), Darius Johnson (Denver Broncos, 1990) and James Whalen (Dallas Cowboys, 1999). He has also spoke at national football clinics including the Dallas Nike Clinic (2013) and at Houston, Texas (2005) and Chicago, Ill. (2001).

He is a 1977 graduate of Howard Payne University and earned a master’s degree from Texas A&M Commerce in 1982.

Collegiate Coaching Stops

  • East Texas Baptist University (2015-16) – assistant coach (WR/passing game coordinator)
  • Southeastern Oklahoma State (2013-14) – assistant coach (QB/recruiting coach)
  • McMurry University (2011-12) – assistant coach (RB/director of operations)
  • Southeastern Louisiana University (2005-06) – assistant coach (offensive coordinator/QB)
  • Belhaven University (2003-04) - head coach
  • Belhaven University (2001-02) – assistant coach (offensive coordinator/QB)
  • University of Kentucky (1999-00) – assistant

NFL Players Coached

  • Ty Warren
  • Darius Johnson
  • James Whalen

Top Offense

  • Belhaven University - 2002 (NAIA #1 passing offense)
  • Belhaven University - 2003 (NAIA #1 passing offense)

Bowl Game

  • Coached in 1999 Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) vs. Syracuse

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