(Photo courtesy of Amanda Loman | AP)

Oregon State promotes Trent Bray to head coach

Defensive coordinator Trent Bray took over as head coach at Oregon State Tuesday night, replacing Jonathan Smith, who departed for Michigan State.

A former linebacker for the Beavers, Bray was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2021. His elevation to the role led to “dramatic” improvements in the team’s defense in the subsequent seasons, according to ESPN, and was a Broyles Award nominee for the top assistant coach in the nation in both 2016 and 2022.

“I’m excited to be able to announce Trent as our next head coach,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes in a press release. “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 played for the Beavers in 24 consecutive games from 2002-05, and graduated from Oregon State in 2007 with a degree in sociology. His first stint on the Beavers’ coaching staff started in 2012 as a graduate assistant, and he was bumped up to linebackers coach in 2013. He spent 2015-17 in the same position at Nebraska Bray before returning to Oregon State.

“I’d like to thank Scott Barnes and President Jayathi Murthy for this opportunity,” Bray said in the press release. “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’s football program has something of an uncertain future, as one of only two teams – the other being Washington State – who have yet to find a home outside the dissolving Pac-12 conference. Both are currently in court vying for control of the conference’s remaining assets.

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