The Oregon State Beavers have found their new head coach. The program is promoting defensive coordinator Trent Bray, who will lead the team for the first time in the Beavers’ bowl game. In choosing Bray to replace Michigan State-bound Jonathan Smith, Oregon State is following a tried-and-tested formula for success.
Oregon State Beavers Promote Trent Bray to Head Coach
Bray was announced as the 32nd head coach of Oregon State in a statement from the program. After serving as the program’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, the Beavers’ legacy has been promoted to lead the program that he has called home for a large part of his college football journey.
“I’m excited to be able to announce Trent as our next head coach,” Athletic Director Scott Barnes said via a media 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,” Barnes continued. “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,” Barnes concluded. “His energy and determination as head coach will be a catalyst for continued program success.”
Bray began his college football journey in Corvallis as a standout linebacker in 2002. During his four years with Oregon State, he earned multiple All-Pac-10 honors while setting program records as the Insight Bowl Defensive MVP following his junior campaign.
Showcasing the leadership qualities that have translated to his coaching career, Bray was a senior captain at Oregon State in 2005. He finished his playing career with 337 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, and 10.5 sacks. His tackle total ranked sixth in program history, a lasting reminder of his impact on the team.
Bray returned to the program in 2012 after beginning his coaching career with the Arizona State and the California Redwoods. Although he departed for Nebraska in 2015, he’d be back within the Beavers’ fold by 2018, serving as the linebackers coach for four seasons — the last of which he served as interim defensive coordinator.
Earning that role full-time in 2022, Bray’s impact has been outstanding for Oregon State. The Beavers have finished in the top-35 nationally for scoring defense in both seasons with the former linebacker directing the defense while ranking 15th for rushing defense in both 2022 and 2023.
The success of the defense in 2022 led to Bray being a Broyles Award nominee as the nation’s top assistant coach. Now, his career accomplishments have led to him being the new Oregon State head coach.
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Oregon State has seen recent success in bringing former players in as head coach. Before his departure for Michigan State, former Beavers quarterback Smith had led the program to national relevance after taking over as head coach in 2018.
His understanding of the program and fan base were key to his success, and Oregon State will hope for similar results this time.
“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,” Bray explained during the announcement of his appointment as head coach of the Beavers.
“I’m excited to lead an outstanding group of men our fans can be proud of.”