Beaver legend to lead team: 'This place fits me, this is home to me - and let's go Beavs'

Athletic director Scott Barnes (left) and President Ed Ray (right) welcome Jonathan Smith as the new head coach of the Oregon State Beavers. (SBG)

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Jonathan Smith led the Oregon State Beavers past the Oregon Ducks in the Civil War in 2000 - and to a share of the Pac-10 title and a Fiesta Bowl championship.

Smith and Oregon State believe he can do it again - as head coach.

"I know what it looks like to transition, change a culture and win a championship as a coach - and obviously as a player," Smith said Thursday. "I've lived it, I've coached it - and now we've got to go get it done."

Smith takes the helm from interim head coach Cory Hall, who took over mid-season when Gary Andersen exited the program.

"This was unique, as we think back what unfolded mid-season put us in a really peculiar situation but it also gave us an opportunity to cast a much wider net," said Scott Barnes, the Oregon State athletic director.

That search led them to Smith.

"The things you'll learn about him he has a bit of a tenacity about him, he's incredibly authentic, he's got grit, he's got unparalleled passion for this place," Barnes said.

Smith met with players before meeting the press.

Barnes recalled introducing Smith to the team.

"Understand who is before you," he said. "This is a man who won a conference championship here. He knows how to do it, and he knows how to do it the right way."

Smith started four years for Oregon State at quarterback before starting his coaching career with the Beavers.

He returns to Corvallis after a stint as co-offensive coordinator of the University of Washington Huskies.

"When you look in my eye and see what it means to me, I believe I can sell this place," Smith said while discussing recruiting. "This place fits me, this is home to me - and let's go Beavs."

President Ed Ray heralded the change as the "perfect moment."

"I think it's obvious to all of us who've been involved in the process we found the perfect person at the perfect moment to be coach here at Oregon State University," Ray said. "Jonathan is a proven winner. For those who doubt it, you have only to look back to the Fiesta Bowl in 2001 when the Beavers prevailed over Notre Dame 41-9 and Jonathan was named the offensive MVP."

Barnes agreed.

"I am unbelievably excited about the next chapter in Beaver football history," he said.

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