Former Ohio State Assistant Zach Smith: AD Gene Smith Knew of 2015 Domestic Violence Allegations

"I found out about the allegation [in October 2015] because Gene Smith told me," Zach Smith said on Friday.
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Former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith said that athletic director Gene Smith knew about the domestic violence allegations against him in 2015.

In a radio interview with Colombus's 105.7 The Zone on Friday, Zach said the AD contacted him while on a recruiting trip.

"I found out about the allegation [in October 2015] because Gene Smith told me," Zach said. "He said I had to be on the next flight home."

Zach, a former recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, was fired by Ohio State on July 23, after reports surfaced that that an order of protection had been filed against him by his ex-wife Courtney Smith.

When asked about the allegations at Big Ten media days on July 24, head coach Urban Meyer dismissed the 2015 incident saying, "I don't know who creates a story like this."

On Wednesday, college football journalist Brett McMurphy reported that Meyer might have known about the allegations because Courtney texted his wife, Shelley, with photos and details of the abuse. The university placed Meyer on paid administrative leave on Wednesday and opened an investigation into his conduct.

Meyer released a statement Friday afternoon, addressing how he handled the allegations against Zach.

"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," Meyer said in the statement. "And I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015."

When asked on The Zone if he had an explanation for the allegations and photos, Zach said he was not at fault.

"All I can really say is we had a volatile relationship," he told the radio hosts. "It was toxic and at the end, it needed to end. I've never committed domestic abuse against her."

After Zach's radio interview, McMurphy tweeted a screenshot of text messages between Zach and Courtney, where Zach apologized for strangling his wife on a trip to Punta Cana in 2015.

In the messages, Courtney wrote that Zach picked her up by her neck and strangled her.

During an interview with ESPN's SportsCenter later on Friday, Zach saw Meyer's statement for the first time.

"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 said, after reading Meyer's statement.