Trent Bray introduced as Oregon State’s 32nd head coach

Head coach Trent Bray at the introductory press conference on Nov. 29.
Head coach Trent Bray at the introductory press conference on Nov. 29.
Grant Hurd

Trent Bray knew he didn’t want to be a head coach anywhere else.

“I wanted to stay at Oregon State and continue what we’ve done here. When the opportunity was presented to be the head coach at Oregon State. That’s when it became real,” Bray said. “This is what I want to do, this is the program I want to lead, the only program that I want to be a head coach at. 

Oregon State formally introduced Bray, their former defensive coordinator, as their next head coach on Wednesday afternoon, five days after fromer head coach Jonathan Smith Abruptly left for Michigan State.

Smith offered Bray a coaching position at Michigan State, but Bray never had interest in leaving Corvallis and felt a sense of responsibility to the Oregon State football program to help it continue to compete as a top program in the country.

“I found out real late in the process, and it didn’t sit quite right with me, which is why I wasn’t in a hurry to get on the plane when he (Smith) asked me to go. Then I was presented with this opportunity, I stayed even longer, and I wanted to hear this out and see where this could go. Best decision I’ve made,” Bray said.   

Bray’s hiring as head coach looks to bring stability to a program that experience a tumultuous year of unprecedented PAC-12 conference realignment and the abrupt news of their former head coach leaving for a new job in the final week of the 2023 football season.  

“This is the only university I want to be the head coach at,” Bray said, adding he had opportunities to be a defensive coordinator elsewhere. “I think real leaders show up when times are hard, we’re in a little bit of a tough situation with everything that has happened over the last year in college football, and to me that made it so much more important that I step in and fight and help this place.”  

The official announcement comes after the Beaver Football team held a team meeting last night to introduce Bray as the head coach to the players on the roster.  

“I appreciate them, it means a ton, because that’s what we do this for, that’s what we coach for the players and our job is to help them be better versions of themselves. So, to have them feel that I’m the guy to do that and the trust that they have in me to do that is remarkable and I appreciate them very much,” Bray said. 

Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes stressed that it was important to hire a head coach quickly following Smith’s departure to Michigan State. After several interviews with prospective coaches, Barnes felt that Bray was the coach to lead the Beavers in 2024 and beyond.  

“You always start when you’re searching for a coach, you start with the leadership capacity, the integrity, the fundamentals, I’ve been around Trent for six years and have watched him work. As I connected with our student-athletes and to be honest with you Trent’s relationship with the student-athletes you see every day, so it wasn’t a surprise, that relationship means more than anything,” Barnes said. 

“When you couple that with Trent’s chops, you look at his pedigree, you look at the results on the field, all of that plays into it. But it does go back to an important element and that is his connection.”  

Bray will not coach in the Beavers upcoming bowl game because he’ll be busy hiring new members of his coaching staff and recruiting players.  

“As of right now, all the work I have to get done to build a staff, recruiting. I don’t feel that I can give the correct amount of time to these players that they need to go out and play the way they’re capable of playing,” Bray said.  

In Bray’s absence, wide receivers coach Kefense Hynson will coach the team in the bowl game. However, Bray will be around the team during practices in a support role helping the players get ready for the upcoming bowl game.   

“I have total confidence in coach Kefense (Hynson) and the rest of the coaches that are here to lead them on the field and very anxious and looking forward to watching them play,” Bray said.

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