Following lopsided loss in Rivalry Game, OSU's Smith departs for Michigan State
Oregon State University announced Saturday that its head football coach, Jonathan Smith, is stepping down from his role in order to take the head coaching position at Michigan State.
The announcement came one day after the Beavers suffered a lopsided loss in the annual Rivalry Game against the University of Oregon.
Smith is a former OSU quarterback who led his team to a 34-35 record over six seasons as head coach.
“Coach Smith and his staff worked tirelessly to rebuild the culture at Oregon State, both on the field and in the classroom," said OSU Athletic Director Scott Barnes in a press release. "All of Beaver Nation should thank him for the lasting legacy he has left to his alma mater and wish him and his family nothing but the best moving forward."
Barnes said OSU has already launched a "national search" for its next coach. Whoever accepts the job will be in charge of a team with an uncertain future, as Oregon State will be one of just two schools remaining in the Pac-12 following the current academic year. The team has not announced a football schedule for next season.
That conference shake-up means that Friday's Rivalry Game could be the final regular season contest between the University of Oregon and Oregon State football teams for the foreseeable future.
Ironically, by taking the job at Michigan State, Smith will return to Autzen Stadium next October, when the Spartans visit Eugene for a Big Ten match-up against the Ducks.
Smith will inherit a program at Michigan State that has struggled in the past two seasons, and faced turmoil earlier this fall when its previous coach, Mel Tucker, was fired after allegations of sexual misconduct.
Michigan State's announcement of Smith's hiring did not include any mention of Tucker.
"With the support of our passionate and loyal fan base, this is certainly an exciting time to begin a new era of Spartan Football," said MSU Athletic Director Alan Haller in the press release. "(Smith) has a great appreciation for the rich history and tradition of our program, and is committed to doing what's required to compete for championships at the Big Ten and national level."
The press release notes that Smith will not officially become the new Michigan State coach until the university's Board of Trustees approves the offer.
As for Oregon State, its players will be led by Kefense Hynson in the final game of their 2023 season, which will be a bowl appearance with a date, location and opponent that will be announced in early December. Hynson was named OSU's Interim Head Coach on Saturday, after serving since 2018 at the team's Wide Receivers Coach/Passing Game Coordinator.