Sports Illustrated and The Associated Press reported earlier Wednesday that Oregon State chose to hire Smith, a former Beavers quarterback who has been part of a Washington staff that has led the Huskies to consecutive double-digit-win seasons.
"I want to thank President Ray and [athletic director] Scott Barnes for their confidence in presenting me this opportunity to return to Oregon State University to be the head coach," Smith said. "I also want to express my gratitude to Coach (Chris) Petersen for providing me a path to realize my dream as a head coach."
Smith has been working as quarterbacks coach for coach Petersen since 2012, starting at Boise State, and then at Washington, starting 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.
"We are very excited about having Coach Smith lead our program," Barnes said. "We interviewed several qualified candidates and Coach Smith emerged as our top choice. He brings to Oregon State football an impressive plan to build our program. He has a unique perspective on what it means to be a part of Beaver Nation and to be successful for our student-athletes on and off the field."
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 Cory 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 #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.
"I feel very positive about the future of that football team in there," Hall said following the outside the Beavers' locker room following the Oregon loss, "because I know they've learned a lot and I know they'll be in good hands."
Hall's status on the staff with Smith as head coach is not known.
"It definitely took a toll on us," senior linebacker Manase Hungalu said about the season and Andersen's abrupt departure. "It was definitely a situation you would not want the players to be in halfway through the season. It's tough for the players, it's tough for the whole community."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.