The Evo-Stik League Southern
Published 1st June 2012
The former Bridgwater Town manager will join Sean Joyce in the dug-out as the Robins step up to the higher division next season.
Joyce, the long-serving manager, said: "He is a good acquisition for us.
"I have got Devon and Cornwall sorted and he has got good connections in Somerset.
"I could have brought in one of my really good friends like Ian Down but he's probably not going to know anything I don't already know. It's not jobs for the boys.
"Rob is very keen, very hungry and he's got desire to manage again.
"I said come along and see how we do things. Hopefully he learns from that and potentially he can manage again."
Dray, 43, was dismissed by Southern Division One South & West side Bridgwater last season.
"He took over at Bridgwater at a difficult time when they were struggling and he kept them up," said Joyce.
"Last season they expected to push on a bit further and I think he got dealt a bad deal.
"Considering what he was working with, I thought he did well again.
"When he got the sack I kept in touch with him and invited him to watch a couple games."
Dray met the squad for the first time when Bideford drew with Torquay United in a friendly at Plainmoor last month.
Joyce is optimistic most of the 2011/12 title-winning squad will be back next term.
"I've contacted all the players and to a man they have all got back to me and said they want to play," he said.
"I know the boys are going to get tapped up and spoken to.
"Hopefully they will stay loyal to me because I want to give them a chance to play at this level.
"Our lads want to push on and not just sit back and rest on their laurels."
Ben Wood is the only member of the squad who looks doubtful.
As a PE teacher he has struggled to find work and is considering a career with the Marines instead.
The left winger lives in Sherborne and has attracted interest from Frome Town.
Bideford's preparation is already at a more advanced stage than a year ago.
"I was on holiday in Egypt last week having a beer and a quiet moment on my own and I thought back to this time last year," said Joyce.
"I only had seven players and we couldn't play any friendlies at home because the pitch was in such a state.
"When you consider what we achieved, it was unbelievable."