Changing of the guard: OSU finds their new coach

Jonathan Smith speaks to the OSU community in his introductory press conference. Image courtesy of Oregon State Athletics.

Riley Youngman, Sports Chief

“Now I’m sitting here in front of you guys, at my dream job, in my dream town, at my dream school.”

Oregon State has their man. The university announced that Jonathan Smith has been named as the new Beaver football head coach.

Smith, a former player at OSU, most recently served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Washington. At Washington, Smith was able to assist the Huskies to a Pac-12 conference championship and an appearance in the College Football Playoff in 2016.

“Well, it is great to be home,” Smith announced to a full auditorium in his introductory press conference.

With roots at OSU, Smith has immediately garnered the support and backing of many past teammates, coaches and other Beaver greats including Dennis Erickson, Derek Anderson, Wayne Tinkle, Pat Casey and many more.

“We are very excited about having Coach Smith lead our program,” OSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes said. “We interviewed several qualified candidates and Coach Smith emerged as our top choice. He brings to Oregon State football an impressive plan to build our program. He has a unique perspective on what it means to be a part of Beaver Nation and to be successful for our student-athletes on and off the field.”

Smith was a four-year letterman quarterback at Oregon State from 1998 to 2001 and ranks third all-time in school history for total passing yards.

“I want to thank President Ray and Scott Barnes for their confidence in presenting me this opportunity to return to Oregon State University to be the head coach,” Smith said. “I also want to express my gratitude to Coach (Chris) Petersen for providing me a path to realize my dream as a head coach.”

Following Gary Andersen’s departure midway through the 2017 season, the team was led by interim coach Cory Hall through the remainder of the campaign that saw the Beavers finish the year 1-11.

With the news from OSU athletics this week that all assistant coaches except for Hall have been relieved of their duties going forward, Smith will be tasked with bringing in a completely new coaching staff.

“I’m in the process of putting together a coaching staff that will share the same vision and goals that I have for this program,” Smith added. “I’m looking forward to working with the young men we currently have in the program and solidifying a recruiting class.”

After graduation, Smith was a graduate assistant coach in 2002 and 2003 under both Dennis Erickson and Mike Riley. Smith’s first full-time coaching position came at the University of Idaho in 2004, where he was the quarterbacks coach through 2009. From 2010-11, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) powerhouse University of Montana, leading the Grizzlies to the NCAA Division I semifinals in 2011. Smith joined Boise State University for the 2012 and 2013 seasons as the Broncos’ quarterbacks coach and helped guide the team to the 2012 Mountain West Conference co-championship and to a victory over the Washington Huskies in the Las Vegas Bowl. Following the 2013 regular season at Boise State, Smith followed head coach Chris Petersen to the University of Washington to serve as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

In all of Smith’s roles, the offenses he has been associated with have all ranked high nationally and produced several well-known players.

“Oregon State University is a special place and I have many memories of being a part of Beaver Nation,” Smith said. “I played for some of the best coaches I have ever been around and learned many of the qualities I have utilized in my coaching career.”

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