Urban Meyer Suggests in Text Messages That Zach Smith Almost Took Alabama Job

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 2, 2019

FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2018, file photo, Ohio State University coach Urban Meyer is listens during an NCAA college football press conference in Columbus, Ohio. Meyer will be back on the Ohio State sideline Saturday against Tulane after serving a three-game suspension. He was forced to sit out after the university determined he mismanaged the behavior of former assistant Zach Smith.  (AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)
Paul Vernon/Associated Press

Former Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer said Zach Smith, who worked as an assistant with the program before being fired in July 2018, almost took a job at the University of Alabama last year. 

Per USA Today's Dan Wolken and A.J. Perez, Meyer made the claim in text messages to an individual whose name was redacted from documents related to Smith's firing, which came after past accusations of domestic violence by Smith's now ex-wife were made public.

"At first thought maybe he [Smith] should go then decided that all effort I've put u to him and it's Alabama," Meyer wrote in a Jan. 21, 2018 text. "I told him to stay and he turned it down. Every (expletive) day it's something." 

In a separate text message to Smith, Meyer wrote "I want u to stay. I have personally invested far too much in u to get u in position to take next step. U need to step away from other situation and let's go win it all ....again."

Another text from Meyer to Smith said, "We got u thru the (expletive)now go b a difference maker in the staff room." 

It's not specified what Meyer was referring to getting Smith through. Smith responded to the report on Twitter, claiming Alabama head coach Nick Saban called Meyer.

Smith's firing came after Stadium's Brett McMurphy reported he was served with a domestic violence civil protection order filed by his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. 

Cleveland.com's Bill Landis obtained nine different police reports involving Zach and/or Courtney from between Jan. 1, 2012, and July 26, 2018, that detailed domestic disputes between the couple. They were divorced in Sept. 2016. 

Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith "failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith’s misconduct and retained an Assistant Coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for OSU student-athletes," Ohio State later said in a statement.

Meyer, who retired following Ohio State's Rose Bowl win in January, was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, and Gene Smith received a 17-day suspension.