Oregon State just five years ago stumbled to a 2-10 season under a new regime, but instead of pivoting out of that model, the Beavers have stayed the course and produced their first 10-win season since 2006. This 2023 staff is a reason behind the buildup to the Pac-12 title game contender.
Oregon State Coaching Staff 2023
Head Coach, Jonathan Smith
At first, things appeared to be a slow build in Corvallis with Jonathan Smith taking over as the first three seasons were sub-.500 marks. Things have looked “Dam” good since then for Oregon State football under Smith.
The former Beavers quarterback is now six seasons into his post and has taken the Beavs to back-to-back bowl games, a first since Mike Riley in 2012 and ’13. He now has a chance to join Riley in producing the program’s first three consecutive bowl trips since 2006-2009.
How has Smith done it? He’s built one of the more potent offenses out west by averaging more than 31 and 32 points per game in 2021 and 2022, respectively. He’s also produced some underrated but impactful recruiting classes that ended up producing the following future NFL Draft picks:
- Luke Musgrave, second-round tight end, Green Bay Packers, 2023 Draft
- Alex Austin, seventh-round cornerback, Buffalo Bills, 2023 Draft
- Teagan Quitoriano, fifth-round tight end, Houston Texans, 2022 Draft
- Nahshon Wright, third-round cornerback, Dallas Cowboys, 2021 Draft
- Jermar Jefferson, seventh-round running back, Detroit Lions, 2017 Draft
- Jake Luton, sixth-round quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2020 Draft
Smith additionally helped lure in Carolina Panthers’ 2023 undrafted free agent cornerback Rejzohn Wright to Corvallis. Smith is backed by a strong mix of recruiters and coordinators for the ’23 campaign.
Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, Brian Lindgren
Lindgren has had a strong assist in creating Oregon State into an offensive power.
In 2021, his unit shattered a school record by averaging 6.4 yards per play. Their recent 32.2 PPG became the fifth-highest in school history. Additionally, he produced two All-American RBs in Jefferson and B.J. Baylor.
Lindgren’s coaching got him to become a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2019 and ’21, which honors the nation’s top assistant. His expertise in QB play came in handy for Ben Gulbranson, who went 8-2 in the 10 games he played, including the 38-34 upset of No. 9 ranked rival Oregon and the 30-3 romp of Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl. Gulbranson finished with a 135.5 passer rating.
Another big offensive output could turn Lindgren into the next fast-rising future head coach in the collegiate ranks.
Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach, Trent Bray
Bray is the coordinator behind the conference’s top defense of 2022.
Last season, the Beavs’ unit allowed the fewest points per game at 20.0. They also allowed the fewest yards per game, with 332.8. Furthermore, Oregon State’s 71 pass deflections as a team led the nation.
The LB guru Bray, additionally, has produced three All-Americans at the position in Avery Roberts, Hamilcar Rashed Jr., and Omar Speights.
Bray is on his second stint in Corvallis, as he was previously on the staff from 2012-2014, including being on the staff during their rise to No. 19 in the ’12 campaign.
Assistant Head Coach and Running Backs Coach, Keith Bhonapha
Bhonapha is the newcomer as he takes the RB coaching reins, accepting a two-year contract in January 2023. But he’s no stranger to developing stout backfield play, as he did just that on the blue turf of Boise State and the Beavs’ Pac-12 North rival, Washington.
One of his notable recruits for UW? Myles Gaskin of the Miami Dolphins. At Boise, 2012 first-rounder for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Doug Martin, was one of his recruits.
Passing Game Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach, Kefense Hynson
The Oakland, California native has worked alongside Smith since 2018. He also holds the additional role of passing game coordinator. Hynson was responsible for helping lure the future NFL starter, Hodgins, over to Corvallis.
Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator, Jim Michalczik
Michalczik has been an instrumental part of some significant accolades at Oregon State, including before Smith’s arrival. He was on the 2000 staff that walloped Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and led lines that paved the way for Ken Simonton and Steven Jackson. He was a 2021 finalist for the Joe Moore Award, which honors the nation’s top offensive line unit.
Tight Ends Coach and Recruiting Coordinator, Brian Wozniak
Wozniak has become his own “TE whisperer” in Corvallis. He not only recruited Quitoriano and Musgrave but turned them into NFL talents. He even took a past QB in Jack Colletto and turned him into the Hornung Award winner, which honors the nation’s most versatile player. Colletto has since joined the San Francisco 49ers. He’s been with the Beavs and Smith since 2018.
Defensive Line Coach, Legi Suiaunoa
Suiaunoa is another who has been with Oregon State throughout the Smith regime. He came to Corvallis via the University of Hawai’i (2016-2017). Since that time, he’s produced three different All-Conference DLs for the Beavs. James Rawls and Sione Lolohea were two DLs who produced over 30 total tackles under his coaching last season.
Cornerbacks Coach, Anthony Perkins
Perkins, like Suiaunoa, was another who crossed over from the Mountain West Conference (previously at Colorado State) to join Smith, except his first season with the Beavs was 2022. Austin, Wright, and Ryan Cooper all combined for 29 pass deflections under Perkins.
Secondary Coach, Blue Adams
Adams has established himself as one of the top DB coaches out west. He’s had a strong hand in producing both Wright brothers into NFL prospects and Austin into a day three pick. Adams’ unit additionally intercepted 12 passes last season.
Special Teams Coordinator, Jake Cookus
While Cookus rounds out the field staff, he holds this distinction: he’s the longest-tenured assistant on the staff and was in Corvallis before Smith arrived (Cookus has been with the Beavs since 2016). Return ace Anthony Gould and Luke Loecher became school record-breakers under him.
The rest of the Beavers 2023 staff are:
- Offensive Quality Control Assistant, Jon Boyer
- Defensive Quality Control Assistant, Brandon Huppert
- Offensive Graduate Assistant, Torrey Gill
- Offensive Graduate Assistant, Kayden Lyles
- Defensive Graduate Assistant, Avery Roberts
- Defensive Graduate Assistant, Keanu Yamamoto
- Strength and Conditioning Coach, Mike McDonald
- Assistant S&C Coach, Marco Candido
- Assistant S&C Coach, Dustyn Baethke
- Assistant S&C Coach, Ben McCarthy
- Graduate Assistant S&C Coach, Peter Finley
- Director of Football Operations, Dan Van De Riet
- Director of Football Administration, Brittney Johnson
- On Campus Ambassador, Bobby Pleasant
- Director of Beyond Football, Alexis Serna