Nov 18, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith looks up at the video board during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State dismisses staff, hires Jonathan Smith as head coach

Michigan State dismissed its football coaching staff on Saturday and quickly moved to hire Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith to rebuild the program.

Athletic director Alan Haller made the changes a day after the Spartans ended their regular season with a 42-0 loss to No. 11 Penn State to finish 4-8 (2-7 Big Ten).

No contract terms were announced, and Smith’s hiring requires approval of the Michigan State board of trustees. The school said in a news release that Smith would be introduced on campus next week.

“Today is an exciting day for Michigan State,” Haller said. “… Jonathan has a proven track record of success, building the Oregon State program from the ground up by implementing a plan resulting in sustained historic success for the Beavers. He’s been a part of championship staffs, coached in the College Football playoff, and understands what’s required to be successful at the highest level, learning from some of the game’s most successful coaches.”

The Spartans started 2-0 on the season before then-coach Mel Tucker was suspended, and eventually fired on Sept. 27, amid an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

Michigan State was 2-8 under interim coach Harlon Barnett, who was let go. The Free Press in Detroit reported the school also won’t bring back offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton, special teams coordinator Ross Els, wide receivers coach Courtney Hawkins, tight ends coach Ted Gilmore, offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic, running backs coach Effrem Reed, defensive line coach Diron Reynolds, cornerbacks coach Jim Salgado and defensive analyst TJ Hollowell.

Barnett and Hawkins played at Michigan State.

Smith, 44, played quarterback at Oregon State from 1998-2001 but leaves his alma mater amid sweeping changes to the Pac-12. After this academic year, 10 of the 12 teams in the conference will be heading to other leagues, leaving holdovers Oregon State and Washington State with uncertain futures.

The Beavers, ranked No. 15, lost their regular-season finale 31-7 on Friday night to No. 6 Oregon. The Beavers finished the season 8-4 (5-4 Pac-12), pushing Smith’s record there to 34-35 in six seasons. In the past three seasons, the Beavers are 25-13.

“This year, Oregon State has controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, ranking among the nation’s leaders in both rushing offense and rushing defense. He’s shown not only the ability to recruit talented student-athletes who fit his system, but also to develop and maximize players once they’re in the program,” Haller said.

Smith previously worked as an assistant coach at Washington (2014-17), Boise State (2012-13), Montana (2010-11) and Idaho (2004-09).

The Spartans had one winning season in Tucker’s three full campaigns in East Lansing, going 11-2 (7-2 Big Ten) in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith walks back to the locker room prior to the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith lands extension through 2027 season

Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith received a contract extension through the 2027 season, the school announced Friday.

The Beavers (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) are bowl eligible for the first time since 2013 and are still in the mix for a spot in the Pac-12 championship game. Oregon State plays at heated rival Oregon on Saturday.

Smith, a former standout quarterback at the school, has a 16-26 record in four seasons with the Beavers.

“Coach Smith has led the resurgence of our football program in a way that has made all of Beaver Nation proud,” athletic director Scott Barnes said in a news release. “Their steady growth, improvement and success on the field, in the classroom and the community is apparent. A strong foundation has been laid for success and the future of Beaver football is bright due to Coach Smith’s leadership.

“We continue to invest in our program to build and sustain success in the Pac-12 and nationally, including assistant coach and staff salaries and our game-changing $153 million Completing Reser Stadium initiative. We brought Coach Smith home four years ago and I look forward to our continued partnership for years to come.”

Smith is reportedly making $2.5 million this season. No terms were released but The Oregonian reported that Smith will receive “a seven-figure annual raise.”

Regardless, Smith was happy to reach the deal on the extension.

“I want to thank the Oregon State administration for making this commitment to our football program,” Smith said. “The continuity of our coaches and football staff has been a key reason for the success our student-athletes have had on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom. I’m thrilled the work by everyone in our program has been noticed, and they are being rewarded to help us continue to build this in the best possible way.”

Smith played at Oregon State from 1998-2001 and ranks third on the school’s all-time list in both career passing yards (9,680 yards) and touchdowns (55).

The two-time captain guided the Beavers to an 11-1 mark in 2000 as the Beavers finished the season with a 41-9 steamrolling of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. The Dennis Erickson-coached squad finished fourth in the final ranking.

–Field Level Media