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Football coach commanding Michigan State Spartans to glory



Jonathan Smith stands as a testament to coaching prowess and strategic leadership. Delving into his remarkable journey, this article unravels the narrative of Smith’s impactful career, shaped by success and significant contributions.

Jonathan Smith biography

Jonathan Smith handling a ball

Jonathan Charles Smith, born on January 18, 1979, serves as the current head coach at Michigan State University.  He previously served as the head coach at Oregon State University, his alma mater, for six seasons.

Smith hails from Pasadena, California, and graduated from Glendora High School in east Los Angeles County in 1997.

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Jonathan Smith Career

Smith ventured north to Oregon State, where, after an initial walk-on under head coach Mike Riley, he became the quarterback for the Beavers for four years. Smith assumed the role in the middle of his redshirt freshman season in 1998 and retained it through his senior year in 2001.

During his junior year in 2000, under Dennis Erickson’s guidance, Smith led the Beavers to a historic season. The team achieved an 11–1 record, setting a school record for wins. The team secured a share of their first conference title in 36 years and concluded the season ranked fourth in the nation.

Notable wide receivers on his team included future NFL players Chad Johnson and T. J. Houshmandzadeh, with Smith earning the MVP title in the Fiesta Bowl.

Coaching journey

As a graduate assistant at his alma mater in 2002 and 2003 under Erickson and Riley, Smith embarked on his coaching career. Over the next six seasons (2004–2009), he served as the quarterbacks coach at the University of Idaho under three head coaches: Nick Holt, Erickson, and Robb Akey.

Subsequently, Smith took on the role of offensive coordinator for two seasons at the University of Montana. He then moved to Boise State University, where he held the position of quarterbacks coach for two seasons under Chris Petersen before accompanying him to the University of Washington, where he remained for four seasons.

Oregon State appointment

On November 29, 2017, Smith assumed the role of head coach at Oregon State, stepping into the tumultuous aftermath of Gary Andersen’s mid-season departure on October 9, 2017. Before Smith’s arrival, Oregon State had a challenging run, posting a 12–36 record (.250) in the preceding four seasons.

Breaking through in 2021, Smith led the Beavers to their first winning record at 7–6, securing an invitation to the LA Bowl. The team continued its ascent in 2022, achieving the program’s third ten-win season by decisively defeating Florida 30–3 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Contractual evolution

Initially signing a five-year deal in 2017 with an annual salary of $1.9 million, Smith’s contract was automatically extended by one year after each six-win season. Following his inaugural winning season in 2021, he received a three-year extension through the 2025 season.

Post-historic 2022 season, including a notable victory over rival, Oregon, Smith renegotiated his contract and secured through the 2027 season, with a salary of $3.25 million starting in 2022.

After another impressive season in 2023, Smith inked a new six-year deal, elevating his salary to $4.85 million from 2023 onwards and reportedly ranking him fifth in the Pac-12 in compensation, surpassing his in-state counterpart Dan Lanning.

Move to Michigan State

Officially appointed as Michigan State’s head coach on November 25, 2023, Smith stepped into the role left vacant since late September, following the termination of Mel Tucker’s employment.

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Jonathan Smith stats

Jonathan Smith as a coach

College statistics

Here are Smith’s college football statistics:


  • Games Played (GP): 6
  • Completions (Cmp): 81
  • Attempts (Att): 181
  • Completion Percentage (Pct): 44.8%
  • Yards: 1,427
  • Touchdowns (TDs): 6
  • Interceptions (Int): 5


  • GP: 12
  • Cmp: 207
  • Att: 425
  • Pct: 48.7%
  • Yards: 3,053
  • TDs: 15
  • Int: 7
  • Rushing Yards: -96
  • Rushing TDs: 3


  • GP: 12
  • Cmp: 170
  • Att: 338
  • Pct: 50.3%
  • Yards: 2,773
  • TDs: 20
  • Int: 7
  • Rushing Yards: -165


  • – GP: 11
    – Cmp: 180
    – Att: 317
    – Pct: 56.8%
    – Yards: 2,427
    – TDs: 14
    – Int: 10
    – Rushing Yards: -141
    – Rushing TDs: 1

College total:

  • GP: 41
  • Cmp: 638
  • Att: 1,261
  • Pct: 50.6%
  • Yards: 9,680
  • TDs: 55
  • Int: 29
  • Rushing Yards: -458
  • Rushing TDs: 4

Coaching records

Smith’s coaching record narrates a tale of a steady ascent to triumph, underscored by his recent accomplishments at Oregon State and his promising initiation at Michigan State.

Here is an in-depth look:

Overall head coaching record:

  • 6 years (up to 2024-01-18)
  • 34-35 (.493 win percentage)
  • 2 bowl appearances (1-1 record)

Seasonal highlights

  • 2018: 2-10 (Oregon State)
  • 2019: 5-7 (Oregon State)
  • 2020: 2-5 (Oregon State)
  • 2021: 7-6 (Oregon State) – Inaugural winning season in 5 years, LA Bowl appearance
  • 2022: 10-3 (Oregon State) – 3rd ever 10-win season, Pac-12 Coach of the Year, Las Vegas Bowl triumph
  • 2023: 8-4 (Oregon State)
  • 2024: N/A (Michigan State) – First season, yet to play

Significant achievements

  • Coached seven All-Americans, six in the past two years at Oregon State.
  • Revitalised the Oregon State programme, guiding them to their initial winning season in five years and their third-ever 10-win season.
  • Awarded Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2022.

Jonathan Smith’s net worth

According to reports, Smith has an estimated net worth of $5 million.

Jonathan Smith family

Jonathan Smith talking

Smith is married to Trish Smith. The couple had two children.

Jonathan Smith age

Smith was born on January 18, 1979. He is currently 45 years old.

Jonathan Smith now

Jonathan Smith currently serves as the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans football team. He officially assumed control of the program in November 2023, following a successful six-year tenure as the head coach at Oregon State, his alma mater.

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