Ohio State has fired wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith. The university’s athletic department released the following statement:
“Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has announced the termination of wide receiver’s coach Zach Smith. Coaching staff adjustments will be announced at a later date.”
Smith’s firing comes days after a domestic violence civil order was filed against him by his ex-wife Courtney Smith. The order, first reported by college football insider Brett McMurphy, was filed in Delaware, Ohio on July 20.
The protection order mandates that Smith remain outside of 500 feet from his ex-wife at all times for the next five years unless a judge reverses the order at a planned August 3 hearing.
“The court finds that [Courtney Smith] is in immediate and present danger of domestic violence and for good cause the following temporary orders are necessary to protect the persons named in this order from domestic violence,” the court order reads. The order includes both Smith’s ex-wife and his two children, Cameron, 8, and Quinn, 6.
Smith, 34, and Courtney, 33, have been divorced since September 1, 2016.
Court records, obtained by McMurphy, reveal a history of domestic violence allegations against the former Ohio State coach dating back to 2009.
The court was filed just days after Smith made an appearance at Delaware Municipal Court for a charge of criminal trespassing at his ex-wife’s home.
Here’s what you need to know about Zach Smith:
1. Zach Smith Was Arrested for Aggravated Battery When Courtney Was 8-10 Weeks Pregnant in 2009
Before Zach Smith worked at Ohio State, he served under current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer at the University of Florida. In 2009, the Gainesville Police Department responded to a domestic violence call at the Smith residence.
Smith returned home that night with an unidentified female, whom he wanted to stay for the night. The woman repeatedly called him “baby.”
According to the incident report, Courtney said that Zach “picked her up by grabbing her T-shirt and threw her against the bedroom wall located upstairs in their apartment.” Courtney said Zach was intoxicated at the time.
She drove the woman home and when she returned, the couple had a tense argument relating to Zach’s possible infidelity. When Zach refused to get out of their bed, he “forcefully grabbed her.
Zach told police that the woman was a co-worker who he brought up because she was upset about a break-up. Responding officers noted that Zach had a red mark on his right bicep. Zach said he got the mark during an attempt to stop a fight at a club. He denied throwing Courtney into a wall.
Officers noted that Courtney’s shirt was stretched, and her side of the story lined up with the mark on Zach’s arm since she claimed to have tried to hit him during the encounter.
Police determined that Zach Smith was the primary aggressor and he was arrested that night and booked on charges of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman.
Courtney Smith declined to press charges against her then-husband eight days later.
2. In 2015, Ohio Police Said Courtney had Been the Victim of “Sustained physical abuse” From Zach
In October 2015, Powell police arrived at Courtney’s home following further allegations of domestic violence, according to Eleven Warriors.
Details about the incident are murky, but the police report alluded to a pattern of persistent abuse. The report said “that a domestic violence incident happened last night at home and that she has been a victim of sustained physical abuse by the suspect.”
3. Zach Smith Was Charged With Criminal Trespassing for an Incident in May
Last Wednesday (July8), Zach Smith went to court for a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge arising from an incident that took place on May 12.
At roughly 8 p.m. on May 12, police were called to the home of Courtney Smith who had called to report Zach for trespassing on her property. Smith had been previously warned not to go on Courtney’s property.
The police incident report:
Mr. Smith took his son to his ex-wife’s residence (redacted) to drop him off after being instructed by Ms. Smith not to come to her residence and disregarding a previous criminal trespass warning that had been given to him by Detective Pentz on Dec. 19, 2017 at 2 p.m. The incident was witnessed by Ms. Smith and their son along with photographs of Mr. Smith’s vehicle being present in her driveway. Mr. Smith also admitted to Sgt. Roach that he was present on Ms. Smith’s property and acknowledged receipt of the trespass warning given to him by Detective Pentz.
During an interview with 610 WTVN Radio, Brad Koffel, Smith’s attorney said:
Zach and his ex-wife have been divorced for a couple years. They have two kids as a result of this marriage. And as many divorced families, they have a joint plan for shared parenting. This was a Saturday evening in May, and Zach was returning their 13-year-old son to his ex-wife, which had previously been agreed upon. He dropped the son off at her apartment, and she was waiting for him with her cell phone out and took a picture of him in her driveway, and he left, and then she called the Powell Police and said it was trespassing.
Koffel incorrectly identified Smith’s son as 13 years old when he is really 8 years old. Smith wasn’t arrested for criminal trespassing and his lawyer said that Smith didn’t violate their parenting plan. Smith entered a not guilty plea on June 5 and is scheduled
4. Ohio State Officials Declined to Comment Initially, Before Firing Smith the Same Day
In a statement provided to media, Ohio State initially declined to comment on Smith’s off-the-field issues.
“We are not going to comment at this time on the situation regarding Zach Smith. This is a personnel matter and we don’t typically discuss such matters publicly. We are continuing to monitor.”
Just hours after Ohio State released that statement, the university parted ways with Smith.
It’s possible Meyer will elaborate on Smith’s dismissal during his Big Ten media day appearance tomorrow, July 24.
5. Smith Was on Urban Meyer’s Staff Since Meyer Arrived at Ohio State
Smith was the only remaining assistant coach from Urban Meyer’s first year at Ohio State in 2012. According to WTOL-11 (Toledo) sports reporter Jordan Strack, at the request of Meyer, Smith interviewed for multiple jobs this offseason at other programs.
Prior to working for Meyer at Ohio State, Smith spent five years working for the Florida Gators program as a quality control coach and graduate assistant. His history with Meyer dates back even further than that, though. In between Florida and Ohio State, Smith worked as an assistant coach at Marshall and Temple, each for a single season.
When Meyer was the head coach at Bowling Green, Smith was a freshman walk-on. Smith grew up in the Columbus area, graduating from nearby Dublin Coffman. He is the grandson of former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce, who died earlier this year.