The ex-wife of former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith, who was fired in July, says several people close to Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, including his wife, knew of a 2015 allegation of domestic violence against her husband.
“All the [coaches’] wives knew,” Courtney Smith told college football reporter Brett McMurphy in a story posted on his Facebook page. “They all did. Every single one.”
Smith told Stadium in a video posted to Twitter that she believes that Meyer also knew at the time.
“I do believe he knew and instead he chose to help the abuser and enable the abuser and believe whatever story Zach was telling everybody,” Smith said.
Shelley Meyer, Urban’s wife and an instructor in Ohio State’s College of Nursing, was among the coaches’ wives who knew that Courtney Smith had reported a domestic violence incident in 2015, Smith said. Smith added that she was never told that Shelley Meyer had told her husband about the allegations at the time.
Smith also said that Hiram de Fries, who is the special assistant to the head coach at Ohio State and has been a confidant of Urban Meyer for years, told her in 2009 not to pursue charges against Zach Smith after an incident in Florida. Meyer was the Gators’ head coach at the time; Smith was an intern on his staff.
“[De Fries] said, ‘If you don’t drop the charges, Zach will never coach again,'” Courtney Smith told McMurphy. “‘He’s never hit you before. He was drinking. He’ll probably never do it again. You should think about giving him a second chance.'”
She did not press charges in 2009. Zach Smith was investigated in 2015 for suspicion of felony domestic violence after an incident that resulted in unspecified injuries and showed evidence of sustained abuse. In the Powell, Ohio, police report regarding that incident, Courtney Smith said she had been a victim of habitual domestic abuse.
Bradley Koffel, an attorney representing Zach Smith, told ESPN: “Zach Smith wants to be as transparent and honest as possible but it is not going to be done today through the media. It will only be after he and his ex-wife are sworn in to testify. Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”