CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State promoted defensive coordinator Trent Bray to head coach on Tuesday night, quickly replacing Jonathan Smith after he left for Michigan State.
Bray, who also played at Oregon State, had served as the Beavers’ defensive coordinator since midway through the 2021 season.
“The connection and trust he has built with our student-athletes is unmatched,” Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes said in a statement. “His energy and determination as head coach will be a catalyst for continued program success.”
Smith was hired as Michigan State’s coach on Saturday, a day after the 21st-ranked Beavers lost to rival Oregon in their regular-season finale. Oregon State (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12) now awaits its bowl destination.
The upheaval at the helm of Oregon State comes as the program faces an unsettled future. The Beavers are one of two teams, along with Washington State, remaining in the Pac-12 after realignment broke apart the conference.
Oregon State and Washington State have gone to court to retain the Pac-12’s assets as both try to chart a path forward, possibly entering into a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West Conference for the next two seasons.
Bray has had two stints as an assistant at Oregon State, the first from 2012-14. After working as the linebackers coach at Nebraska from 2015-17, he returned to Oregon State in 2018 as linebackers coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2021.
This year, the Beavers’ defense was ranked 15th nationally in rushing yards allowed with an average of 104 per game. Oregon State ranked second in the Pac-12 with 36 sacks, and third in tackles for loss with 72 and interceptions with 12.
Bray played linebacker for the Beavers from 2002-05 and had 337 tackles, sixth on the program’s all-time list. He started in 24 consecutive games.
Smith was at Oregon State for six seasons. Last year, he won 10 games and shared Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors. A former quarterback for the Beavers, Smith was 34-35 overall at his alma mater.