Oregon State stayed in-house to find Jonathan Smith’s replacement.
The school announced Tuesday that defensive coordinator Trent Bray would be the team’s head coach. Bray replaces Smith after Smith was announced as Michigan State’s new head coach on Saturday.
"I'm excited to be able to announce Trent as our next head coach," Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes said in a statement. "After interviewing several qualified candidates, we realized our top choice, Trent, has already been a mainstay at the Valley Football Center and Reser Stadium. He's been a part of Beaver Nation for a long time and love for this place is real. The connection and trust he has built with our student-athletes is unmatched. His energy and determination as head coach will be a catalyst for continued program success."
Bray has been Oregon State’s defensive coordinator since the middle of the 2021 season. He became the team’s linebackers coach in 2018 and moved up to defensive coordinator in November 2021.
"I'd like to thank Scott Barnes and President Jayathi Murthy for this opportunity," Bray said. "I've been a part of Oregon State for a long time, as a coach and a student-athlete, and know how special Beaver Nation is. I'm excited to lead an outstanding group of men our fans can be proud of."
Oregon State is allowing 21.5 points per game in 2023 and has given up fewer than 20 points in six games this season. The Beavers gave Washington one of their toughest games of the season in a 22-20 win by the Huskies in Week 13.
The Beavers’ defense was even better a season ago. Oregon State gave up fewer than 17 points per game and 5.2 yards per play as it went from 7-6 in 2021 to 10-3 a season ago.
OSU still has a chance at a nine-win season with a win in a bowl game. The Beavers haven’t had back-to-back nine-win seasons since they won nine or more games in three consecutive years from 2006 to '08.
Like Smith, Bray is a former Oregon State player. He was a four-year contributor at linebacker and had 116 tackles as a senior in 2005.
Smith, a former Oregon State quarterback, made the decision to move to Michigan State as Oregon State faces an uncertain conference future. Just Oregon State and Washington State remain in what will effectively be the Pac-2 in 2024, as four teams have left for the Big Ten, four have left for the Big 12, and Stanford and Cal found homes in the ACC.
Earlier Tuesday, Yahoo Sports reported that Oregon State and Washington State were finalizing a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West. Teams in the Mountain West will play seven conference games in 2024, along with a game against either OSU or WSU.