For the first time since being fired on July 23, former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith spoke publicly in an interview with 105.7 The Zone on Friday afternoon.
In the interview, Smith was adamant that he never physically abused his ex-wife, Courtney Smith, and revealed that Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was aware of the allegations she made against him to Powell Police in 2015.
A quick recap of what he said:
- "I've been purposely quiet since this is all started, because I don't believe this is the right venue to talk about it. I, by no means, want to come out and throw dirt on Courtney at all. All I can really say is we had a volatile relationship. It was toxic. And by the end of it, it just flat out needed to end."
- "I've never committed domestic abuse against her."
- Smith said he would have sometimes sleep at Ohio State's football offices because the relationship was so volatile. “There are times when things got out of hand and I had to defensively kind of restrain her and move her and get out of the situation, and go sleep at the office, or try to remove myself. That absolutely happened."
- "There are thousands of things that I regret when things got volatile ... none of them were physical. I was not a great husband."
- "I didn't do anything physically to harm her."
- Smith said he believed Urban Meyer's comments at Big Ten Media Days were related to the fact that he was not arrested in 2015, but he said Urban did know about the allegations made against him. "Plenty of people knew about the allegations."
- Smith said Gene Smith called him after Courtney made domestic abuse allegations against him in October 2015. "Zach, you need to be on the next plane home," Zach Smith said he recalled Gene Smith saying, as Zach was on a recruiting trip at the time.
- Zach said that while Urban and Shelley Meyer were helping and counseling he and Courtney after the 2009 incident, that was no longer the case in 2015, as he was six years older and the marriage was ending at that point.
- Zach Smith on his firing: "I know why I was terminated. I don't think I did anything that warranted it, but the problem was that, it was going to be unfair for those players at Ohio State ... I don't think that it was wrong." Zach believes the "media uproar" around the situation forced Ohio State's hand.
- “I believe and still believe it was behind closed doors between a husband and a wife. It was not illegal. I never saw a police officer in any of these situations.”
- Zach denied the allegations of stalking Courtney: "Absolutely not."
- Zach Smith on how Gene Smith found out about the 2015 incident: “I don't know this for a fact, but I believe the Powell Police Department contacted Ohio State – not Urban, but contacted the university.”
- Zach Smith acknowledged that he was arrested in 2009, for what he described as an "argument gone bad," and that police explained to him that they could not allow him to stay in the same residence as Courtney after the altercation, but charges were not filed against him.
- On the photos Courtney sent to Brett McMurphy alleging abuse at the hands of Zach: "I don't know where or what they are from. I have no idea."
- "In my opinion, there was nothing illegal. This should have stayed behind closed doors so my kids didn't have to deal with this, and now they have to."
- Zach reiterated on multiple occasions that Courtney Smith is a "great mother" and that he did not want to talk negatively about her.
You can hear Smith's full interview with Matt McCoy and Stanley Jackson on 105.7 The Zone's website.
Brett McMurphy, who broke the story on Wednesday first revealing that Urban Meyer was aware of the allegations Courtney made against Zach in 2015, posted a text message exchange between Zach and Courtney shortly after Zach's interview with 105.7 The Zone in which Zach appeared to acknowledge strangling his wife.
Zach Smith told @1057TheZone he never abused Courtney. Here is text message b/w Zach & Courtney when he admits & apologizes for strangling his wife on Punta Cana trip in March 2015 & again in April pic.twitter.com/GjcjWh6mFT
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 3, 2018
Zach also spoke with ESPN's Dan Murphy in an interview that aired during the 6 p.m. SportsCenter. A quick recap of what he said in that interview:
- What did you say to Urban Meyer about the 2015 incident? "I swear to God, Zach, if I find out you hit her, you're done. You're fired." Zach recalled.
- Smith said that any bruises or marks on his wife came from "defensive moments" to remove himself from the situation.
- Should Urban Meyer have looked further into the 2015 situation? Zach said he does not believe that was Meyer's job. "He's not a detective, he's not a cop."
- Smith reiterated that he believes the issues between he and his ex-wife should have stayed within his family, because it was not a domestic violence case, and did not want them to become public for the sake of his kids.
- On how he feels Urban Meyer handled the situation: "I think one of the things Urban always does, he's a good employee. He's going to let the higher-ups do what they have to do."
- Zach Smith on Urban Meyer potentially losing his job: "I'd be heartbroken ... If he loses his job, it's flat wrong."
- Zach Smith on Urban Meyer's statement: "That was as heartfelt, honest, true a statement as I've ever heard, and that's who he is right there ... I hope people will take it for gold."
- Zach Smith on his ex-wife Courtney: "I probably should have never married her. I loved her."
- "I've never hit my wife. I've never beat her. Nothing."
- Zach on the photo that showed Courtney's hand bleeding: "She grabbed a can of tobacco that I had, and she went to pour it on me, and when I put my hand up to stop her from pouring it on me, I closed the can and it sliced her hand." Zach said that was accidental.
ESPN posted video of Murphy's interview with Smith on its YouTube account.
Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for further coverage of Zach Smith's interviews and the latest developments in this situation.