Timeline of Events That Led to the Firing of Zach Smith and the Suspensions of Urban Meyer and Gene Smith

By Kevin Harrish on August 1, 2018 at 10:05 pm
Urban Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave.

The complete timeline of the series of events that led to the termination of Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith and the suspension of head coach Urban Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith.

  • 2005

    Zach Smith Hired at Florida

    Urban Meyer hires Zach Smith as a special teams quality control coach. Smith played for Meyer at Bowling Green and is the grandson of former Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce, a mentor and father figure to Meyer. Smith would serve in this role for three seaons before becoming an offensive graduate assistant for the 2008 and 2009 season in Gainesville.

  • June 21, 2008

    Zach Smith Marries Courtney Carano

    Zach Smith marries Courtney Carano, who he met as an undergrad at the University of Kentucky.

  • June 21, 2009

    Zach Smith Charged with Felony Assault

    Zach Smith arrested and charged with felony assault. Documents show Courtney, then pregnant, told police that Zach “picked her up by grabbing her T-shirt and threw her against the bedroom wall” after a heated argument.

  • December 22, 2011

    Zach Smith Hired at Ohio State

    Urban Meyer and Ohio State announce the hiring of Zach Smith as the team's wide receivers coach.



  • October 21, 2015

    Courtney Smith Reports Being Followed

    Courtney Smith told police she felt she was being followed by someone in a black SUV, and shared she was having issues “with her soon to be ex-husband,” a report obtained by Cleveland.com reveals.

  • October 25, 2015

    Courtney Smith Reports Threatening Texts

    Police were called when Courtney Smith alleged Zach Smith refused to bring his son back to her when it was her time with him. Courtney also said she “has threatening text messages saved on her phone from her husband,” a report obtained by The Lantern reveals.

  • October 26, 2015

    Felonious Assault and Domestic Violence Offenses Filed

    Police called to the house of Courtney Smith. A police report lists charges of "Domestic Violence" and "Felonious Assault" with Courtney Smith as the victim. Courtney Smith told Powell police she wished to file a restraining order against her husband, a report obtained by Cleveland.com reveals.

  • November 9, 2015

    Menacing by Stalking Offense Filed

    Powell Police respond to a call to Courtney's apartment and filed an incident report with an offense of "Menacing by Stalking."

  • November 10, 2015

    Courtney Smith Granted a Restraining Order

    Courtney Smith was granted a restraining order against Zach, according to Brett McMurphy.

  • November 12, 2015

    Courtney Smith Files for Divorce

    Courtney Smith files for divorce from Zach Smith.



  • January 5, 2016

    Courtney Smith Stopped for Speeding

    Courtney Smith is stopped for speeding and was visibly upset. Courtney told police said “she was having domestic issues with her ex,” a report obtained by The Lantern reveals.

  • September 5, 2016

    Zach and Courtney Smith Divorce

    After eight years of marriage, Zach and Courtney Smith officially divorce.



  • December 17, 2017

    Zach Smith Issued Trespass Warning

    Zach Smith issued a trespass warning after Courtney told police that neighbors caught Zach looking through the windows of Courtney’s home and car, and banging on her door at 1:30 a.m.



  • May 12, 2018

    Zach Smith Arrested for Criminal Trespassing

    Zach Smith charged with criminal trespassing at the home of Courtney Smith.

  • July 11, 2018

    Courtney Reports Zach for Stalking and Harassment

    Courtney Smith files a report that Zach Smith has been “relentlessly stalking” and “harassing” her, a report obtained by The Lantern reveals.

  • July 18, 2018

    Zach Smith Appears in Court

    Zach Smith appears in court for a criminal trespassing charge.

  • July 20, 2018

    Civil Protection Order Filed against Zach Smith

    Courtney Smith files a civil protection order against Zach Smith. In the document, Courtney states that Zach “would corner me in my laundry while groping me and pulling his pants down and begging for sex,” and describes hidden cameras she found in her home, which she said were used by Zach to surveil her, their children and her boyfriend, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

  • July 23, 2018

    Zach Smith Fired

    Zach Smith is fired after a history of domestic violence allegations against Zach Smith surface.

  • July 24, 2018

    Urban Meyer Misspeaks at Big Ten Media Days

    At Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Urban Meyer said he knew about a 2009 incident involving Zach Smith, but was unaware of any 2015 allegations.

  • July 26, 2018

    Brian Hartline Named Interim Wide Receivers Coach

    Ohio State names Brian Hartline interim wide receivers coach after the firing of Zach Smith.

  • August 1, 2018

    Urban Meyer Placed on Paid Administrative Leave

    A new report surfaces suggesting Urban Meyer and Ohio State knew about a long history of domestic assault allegations against Zach Smith. Ohio State places Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave and promotes offensive coordinator Ryan Day to interim head coach.

  • August 2, 2018

    Ohio State Board of Trustees Forms Working Group

    Ohio State's Board of Trustees announced the formation of a “special, independent board working group” to lead its investigation of football coach Urban Meyer.

    The working group consists of current trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter and Alex Shumate and also includes former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford and former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart.

  • August 3, 2018

    Urban Meyer Releases Statement

    The Ohio State head coach releases a statement on Twitter, in which he said he was aware of allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith in 2015 and reported those allegations through the proper channels.

    "Over the past several days, I have been portrayed as being indifferent to domestic violence and as someone who did not take appropriate action, when warranted," Meyer said in his statement. "While over three decades of coaching I have learned to ignore how others defined me, I do feel it necessary to share the truth with the Buckeye family.

    "Here is the truth: While at the University of Florida, and now at The Ohio State University, I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels. And I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015. I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false."

    Meyer also apologized for providing inaccurate answers to questions about whether he was aware of those allegations during last week's Big Ten Media Days.

    Zach Smith Said Ohio State Knew of 2015 Incident

    In media appearances on 105.7 the Zone in Columbus and on ESPN, Zach Smith denied committing domestic violence. Smith further stated that Ohio State was aware of the 2015 incident involving the now fired coach and his ex-wife and said that Meyer threatened to fire him if he laid his hands on her.

  • August 5, 2018

    Ohio State Announces Two-Week Investigation Timetable

    Ohio State releases a statement saying the investigation of football coach Urban Meyer will be completed within 14 days. The school also announced the formation of an investigative team led by Mary Jo White, former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • August 6, 2018

    Ohio State Fans Hold Urban Meyer Rally

    Approximately 200 Ohio State fans gathered at Ohio Stadium to hold a rally for Urban Meyer. Ezekiel Elliott's father, Stacy, was on hand to support the embattled coach.

  • August 9, 2018

    Jeff Snook Publishes Interview with Lynn Bruce and Tina Carano

    Jeff Snook, a sportswriter who has written several biographies and books about Ohio State football publishes interviews with Zach Smith's mother, Lynn Bruce, and Courtney Smith's mother, Tina Carano, in a lengthy Facebook post.

    “She told me that not one time, but in fact she said it several times over the years,” Bruce told Snook.

    Bruce alleges that when Courtney "found out five years ago that Zach had cheated on her, she was so angry that she vowed to me she would get back at him someday."

    “And this is exactly what she did," Bruce told Snook. "She wanted to do as much damage as possible. She has been planning this for some time.”

  • August 11, 2018

    Snook Accuses Tom Herman of Being Brett McMurphy's Source

    Jeff Snook follows his interviews with the mothers of Zach Smith and Courtney Smith by publishing anonymously-sourced allegations that Texas head coach and former Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman tipped Brett McMurphy off to the allegations of domestic violence in the Smith household.

    Tom Herman and Brett McMurphy Deny Snook's Allegations

    Texas coach Tom Herman and reporter Brett McMurphy deny Jeff Snook's report that Herman tipped McMurphy off to allegations of abuse in the Smith household.

    "It is absolutely untrue," Herman told Texas reporter Brian Davis via a spokesman. "Neither I, nor anybody in my family, has ever communicated with Brett McMurphy about the situation at Ohio State.”

    Herman admitted to providing financial assistance to Courtney Smith in March 2017, however.

    Tina Carano Says Zach Smith Was Defending Himself

    In a text interview with Brett McMurphy, Courtney Smith's mother, Tina Carano, said, “He hit her because of self defense. It’s not like he punched (her) or threw a punch at her. He was putting his hands against her throat and pushing her against a wall to get away. That’s all I’m going to say.”

  • August 13, 2018

    Smith OVI Arrest Records from 2013 Emerge

    The Toledo Blade unearths arrest records from an OVI stop of Zach Smith in Dublin in 2013.

    According to the report, Smith was pulled over at 2:43 a.m. Feb. 23, 2013 for speeding, driving 67 mph with a 50 mph speed limit. Smith was sentenced to a $375 fine, a suspended three-day jail term, a license suspension of 180 days and a 72-hour diversion program.

    Smith, through his lawyer, said Urban Meyer and Ohio State officials were unaware of this arrest.

    Courtney Smith Meets with Ohio State Investigative Team

    Courtney Smith's lawyer releases a statement saying her client met with Ohio State's investigative team. Courtney “welcomed the opportunity to speak with investigators,” according to the statement.

  • August 14, 2018

    Zach Smith Meets with Ohio State Investigative Team

    Via a statement from his attorney, Zach Smith stated he met with Ohio State's investigative team. According to the statement, Smith "did not refuse to answer a single question," and the lawyers conducting the interview were "thoroughly prepared and very exhaustive in their questioning."

  • August 16, 2018

    Ohio State President Michael Drake Speaks to WOSU

    Appearing on WOSU's All Sides, Ohio State president Michael Drake said the university's investigation of football coach Urban Meyer is ongoing and that no set deadline is in place for its conclusion.

    “That's the projected goal,” Drake said of the two-week timetable, which would end Sunday. “The investigation is underway as we speak. It will be finished when it is finished. The most important thing is to get good information so we can make the right decisions going forward.”

    Courtney Smith Disputes Mother's Claims

    Through her attorney, Courtney Smith disputed her mother's claims that Zach Smith only used self defense against her.

    "Courtney is saddened by the vindictive falsehoods her estranged mother is making," Julia Leveridge's statement reads. "They not only hurt her daughter but her grandchildren as well. These allegations will be dealt with at the right time and in the appropriate venue. In the meantime, Ms. Smith is committed to taking the high road and is anxious to share the truth after the litigation has concluded."

  • August 17, 2018

    Ohio State Announces Investigation is Set to Conclude

    Ohio State announces the investigation into head coach Urban Meyer will be completed on Sunday, meeting the 14-day timeframe originally set.

  • August 19, 2018

    Ohio State's Investigation Concludes

    Ohio State releases a statement saying the investigation was complete. Following state law, the university Board of Trustees announce a Wednesday 9 a.m. meeting to "discuss personnel matters related to the investigation involving Urban Meyer.”

  • August 21, 2018

    Report Emerges Stating Urban Meyer, Gene Smith Met with Investigators Multiple Times

    Urban Meyer met with investigators "more than twice" during Ohio State's two-week investigation into what he knew about and how he handled domestic violence allegations against former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith, a source with knowledge of the situation said, according to a report by Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch.

  • August 22, 2018

    Ohio State's Board of Trustees Begins Deliberations

    Following a brief public statement, Ohio State's Board of Trustees adjourned for private deliberations into the investigation of football coach Urban Meyer.

    Urban Meyer, Gene Smith Suspended

    Following more than 12 hours of deliberations, Ohio State's Board of Trustees agrees to suspend football coach Urban Meyer for the first three weeks of the season. The Board also announced a suspension for athletic director Gene Smith.

    The suspensions were announced at a late night press conference at the university's Longaberger Alumni House [Video | Transcript].

  • August 23, 2018

    Gene Smith's Attorney: “Two Great Men Fell on the Sword”

    In a private Facebook post shared to a wider audience on social media, Gene Smth's attorney, Rex Elliott, said “Two great men fell on the sword for a university they dearly loved.”

  • August 23, 2018

    Urban Meyer Apologizes to Courtney Smith

    After he did not directly respond when asked whether he had a message for Courtney Smith during Ohio State's press conference announcing his three-game suspension on Wednesday, Urban Meyer issued an apology to Courtney and her children in a statement via Twitter.

    "My words and demeanor on Wednesday did not show how seriously I take relationship violence," Meyer said Friday. "Let me say here and now what I should have said on Wednesday: I sincerely apologize to Courtney Smith and her children for what they have gone through."

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