Smith is the fourth assistant of Petersen's to go on to become a head coach. "I will always be indebted to that man," Smith said of Petersen.
Chris Petersen’s coaching tree is in full bloom these days.
Jonathan Smith was introduced Thursday as the new head coach at Oregon State, his alma mater, becoming the second former Petersen assistant to take over this year at a Pac-12 North program.
Justin Wilcox, 41, just finished his first season as a head coach at California, helping the Bears to solid 5-7 finish in a rebuilding year.
The 38-year-old Smith has been UW’s offensive coordinator the past four seasons, and one of the first people he thanked during a press conference in Corvallis was Petersen.
“Six years together — gave me an opportunity at Boise State, brought me over to the University of Washington. Really (taught) me how to build a championship team, and it really started with building a championship culture,” Smith said. “The guy is an elite teacher, an elite coach, and I will always be indebted to that man. My growth as a coach, as a teacher and as a friend and as a human being is all so much better from my time spent with him. He means the world to me.”
Smith will return to Husky Stadium when the Beavers play UW on Nov. 17, 2018.
“I’m very happy for Coach Smith and his family. Jonathan is an excellent football coach and an outstanding person, and I’m confident he will have a lot of success at Oregon State,” Petersen said in a statement.
Former Petersen assistants Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Jeff Choate (Montana State) and Sean Kugler (UTEP) have gone on to be head coaches. Marcel Yates, a former Petersen assistant at Boise State, is now the defensive coordinator at Arizona.
Smith, who led the Beavers to unprecedented success as a walk-on quarterback from 1998-2001, was emotional during his introduction Thursday.
“It’s great to be home,” he said.
He called Oregon State “my dream job, in my dream town at my dream school.”
He will try to resurrect Oregon State for a second time after the Beavers just finished a 1-11 season.
“We found the perfect person at the perfect moment,” Oregon State President Ed Ray said.