When former Oregon State football head coach Mike Riley returned to the Beavers to be an assistant coach under Jonathan Smith, it was almost fitting that not too long after Riley’s hiring, Smith announced that another former Beaver would be joining the staff.

Former All-Pac-12 linebacker Trent Bray.

Bray was a standout during his time at OSU, compiling 337 tackles which still ranks seventh in OSU history before moving to the coaching ranks shortly after his playing time. After starting his coaching career as a grad-assistant under former OSU head coach Dennis Erickson at ASU, Bray came to OSU for the last three years of the Riley era, before following Riley to Nebraska.

“A lot,” Bray said on what he’s learned since leaving OSU in 2014. “The time I spent at Nebraska and the different people I was around always wanted to make me grow as a coach. The big difference, is that I think I’m a much better coach than I was last year and a much better coach than I was three years ago.”

Now entrenched as the linebackers coach at Oregon State, Bray feels right at home at OSU and is loving every minute being around the players and the coaching staff. He’s built a great rapport with defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar and the two have been working tirelessly to get this Beaver defense on the right track.

Linebackers have been a curious case for the Beavers over the past couple seasons. They’ve had some successful players with big numbers like Caleb Saulo, Manase Hungalu, Bright Ugwoegbu, and Rommel Mageo, but haven’t had the top-to-bottom production that fans would have hoped.

By now, most of you have seen the various videos that have made their way across social media that are featured around Bray. Just the other day, Bray was mic’d up for an entire practice, while the other day he was just featured for outrunning his players after practice. His philosophy is to bring energy, and every single day of spring ball, he’s brought it.

“You gotta have fun with it,” Bray said. “Football is a hard game, practices are hard, and you have to be able to keep your energy and excitement up. As a coach, you try and do the same thing. If you are walking around with no energy, the players are going to feed off you and start becoming that. You’ve gotta keep them going.”

Bray is a self-described competitor and is extremely business like in the way that he conducts himself. He places a high-emphasis on developing trust with his players and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Beavers, who were a team that needed coaches that wanted trust to go both ways.

“The relationship aspect is a big part,” Bray said. “I gotta be able to trust them and they have to be able to trust me. We spend a lot of time together and it’s built on trust and relationships no question.