College football: Oregon State to hire former Beavers quarterback Jonathan Smith as coach

Jonathan Smith has been Washington's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 2014.
(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Jonathan Smith is returning to where he started. Washington’s co-offensive coordinator has been hired by Oregon State to be the Beavers’ new head coach, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deal and an official announcement were being finalized. The move was first reported by The Oregonian.

Smith is a former Beavers quarterback who has been working as quarterbacks coach for coach Chris Petersen since 2012, starting at Boise State and following him to Washington in 2014. He also had stops as an assistant at Montana and Idaho. He was a graduate assistant at Oregon State from 2002-03.


Smith was a walk-on in Corvallis, playing for the Beavers from 1998-2001. He was on Oregon State’s 2000 team that went 11-1 and defeated Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl under coach Dennis Erickson.

A fan favorite during his playing days, Smith ranks third on Oregon State’s career list with 55 touchdown passes and 9,680 passing yards.

Oregon State has been in the market for a new coach since Gary Andersen surprisingly stepped down in early October after a 1-5 start, with the victory coming over lower-division Portland State.

The Beavers promoted cornerbacks coach Corry Hall as interim head coach. Hall appeared to inspire the team, which challenged Stanford in a close 15-14 loss. And a group of players started an online petition supporting Hall, as well as a Twitter hastag (hash)HALLin.

But Hall’s connection to the players didn’t translate to wins. The Beavers wrapped up the season with a 69-10 loss to rival Oregon in the Civil War rivalry game to finish 1-11 overall and 0-9 in conference.

Mississippi State hires Moorhead

Mississippi State hired Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead as its football coach, the university announced Wednesday. The 44-year-old Moorhead replaces Dan Mullen, who left Starkville, Miss., after nine seasons to become the Florida Gators’ new head coach on Sunday.


Moorhead has been with Penn State the last two seasons, calling plays for one of the best offenses in the country. The Nittany Lions post a 21-5 record over the last two seasons. Mississippi State went 8-4 this season with a roster that features only a handful of senior starters.


A federal lawsuit filed by 20-year-old Deven Hammond claims the University of Southern Mississippi discriminated against him when the school wouldn’t clear him to play football because he only has one kidney. The lawsuit filed Wednesday sHammond never has had any kidney-related problems during football games or practices in high school or college. But his suit claims Southern Miss officials repeatedly raised “liability” concerns after learning of Hammond’s medical condition.