Fired Ohio State assistant Zach Smith: 'I've never committed domestic abuse against her'

Zach Smith was fired by Ohio State in July after a domestic violence civil protection order was filed by his ex-wife Courtney. Friday, Smith denied the allegations against him.

“I’ve never committed domestic abuse against her,” Smith told 105.7 The Zone in Columbus, Ohio.

Courtney Smith this week shared photos purporting to show herself with bruises on her neck and arms, and a bloodied hand from an alleged 2015 encounter with her husband in an interview with college football reporter Brett McMurphy as well as with a video interview with Stadium.

Asked about those images, Zach Smith replied: “I don’t know where they are from. There were several times things got out of hand between us and I may have restrained her to get out of the house.”

He went on to talk about the images to ESPN as well.

“I told him (Meyer) Courtney’s accusing me of domestic violence. I didn’t,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on. Anything that happened to her body was all defensive movements to remove myself from the situation.”

Smith talked about the image where Courtney’s hand appeared to have sustained a cut and claimed it happened when she tried to pour a can of tobacco on him in his sleep.

“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,” he said.

During his interview on ESPN, McMurphy released a text message between Zach and Courtney which appears to show Zach acknowledging his abuse in the past.

The former coach said he met with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith after the 2015 allegation but did not get head coach Urban Meyer involved. 

Courtney Smith filed for divorce in November 2015 and filed a domestic violence protection order against Zach Smith on July 20 — three days before his firing and four days before Meyer’s appearance at Big Ten Media Days.

Meyer has since been put on paid administrative leave while Ohio State investigates the allegations — which Smith says are unfounded. 

“I was not a good husband,” Smith told the radio station. “I pushed her buttons. I could make her mad easily. There’s a lot of things I did wrong. That’s between her and I. There was never domestic abuse. I never hit her. Never got arrested. Never got charged.”

As for why Ohio State decided to fire him if that was the case, Smith said he believes the media uproar around the story forced the university’s hand. 

“It was a move they had to make,” he said. “I don’t think I deserved it. But I don’t think it was wrong.”

Meyer released a statement Friday addressing his denial of any knowledge of the 2015 incident at Big Ten Media Days in July.

“My words, whether in reply to a reporter’s question or in addressing a personnel issue, must be clear, compassionate and most of all, completely accurate,” the statement read. “Unfortunately at Big Ten Media Days on July 24th, I failed on many of these fronts. My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.

“Please know that the truth is the ultimate power, and I am confident that I took appropriate action. As I stated above, I deeply regret if I have failed in my words.”

Smith also addressed Meyer’s role in the situation. He does not believe he should be fired.

“I’d be heartbroken. For Ohio State. For the players. For him and his family. It’d be dead wrong. If he loses his job it’s flat wrong. And this is the guy who fired me. It would be a crime.”

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