CORVALLIS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- New Oregon State football coach Trent Bray was candid Wednesday about the weekend departure of Jonathan Smith for Michigan State. And he told reporters he believes he's earned the trust of players in his years as an assistant coach.
“Let me introduce to you our own Number 44, and our new football coach, Trent Bray,” OSU Athletic Director Scott Barnes said as he introduced Bray.
The former Oregon State linebacker and defensive coordinator was officially introduced as the new Beavers football head coach just a handful of days after the job opened up.
Bray noted, “When the opportunity was presented to be the head coach at Oregon State, that's when it became a real, 'Okay, this is what I want to do. This is the program I want to lead. This is the program I want to be a head coach at. So I'm really excited for this opportunity.”
Barnes shared his admiration of Bray: “As I've watched coach Bray work, and have gotten to know him even more through the process here of late, it is incredibly evident we have a new leader that values that connection and that trust-building with the student athletes.”
Barnes interviewed seven candidates for the job, some via Zoom, over the past few days. When asked about Jonathan Smith's decision to leave for Michigan State Saturday morning, Bray indicated players felt betrayed, and said he didn't have much notice.
“I found out really late in the process, you know, 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 asked me to go," Bray said. "And then, when i was presented this opportunity, I stayed even longer and wanted to hear this out and see where this could go -- and the best decision I've made.”
Beaver fans have flooded social media in excitement since the announcement late Tuesday, with Bray seeming to deliver new hope.
Bray has appreciated the warm welcome to his new role: “Over the last couple days there was worry after Coach Smith taking off, but I think just the excitement, the program is good for this place. It's good for the players to realize that this fan base cares, and we're still excited about what's going on here. and there is life after coach Smith.”
The Beavers have had two straight eight-plus win seasons and have been in the Top 25. Coach Bray is confident even with conference realignment, success will continue in Corvallis
“We are excited to keep this thing moving and compete at a championship level and a top 25 level and that's the expectation," he said. "And our kids are ready for that fight. I am ready for that fight. Our administrators are ready for that fight.
"So I can't say thank you enough for this opportunity to lead this program that I love and I'm so committed to. Thank you very much,” Bray concluded.