HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Marshall University Athletics Department said in a statement issued to MetroNews Thursday a background check of former Thundering Herd assistant football coach Zach Smith “yielded no information” concerning a 2009 domestic violence incident in Florida in which Smith was arrested for allegedly shoving his pregnant wife against a wall.
Smith is at the center of a controversy that has resulted in Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer being placed on paid administrative leave. OSU officials are investigating what Meyer did or did not know about a 2015 domestic violent incident between Smith and his ex-wife Courtney.
Meyer fired Smith July 23 after he allegedly violated a parenting plan with his ex-wife. Meyer has denied knowing about the 2015 incident although Courtney Smith has said she spoke with Meyer’s wife several times about it along with the wives of the other assistant coaches.
Zach Smith was an intern at Florida in 2009 where Meyer was the head coach. Holliday coached under Meyer at Florida from 2005-2007. After a two-year return to WVU on Bill Stewart’s staff, Holliday was named head coach at Marshall on Dec.17, 2009. Smith was a member of Holliday’s first staff. Smith stayed one year and then took a job at Temple. Smith was hired by Meyer at Ohio State prior to the 2012 season.
Marshall University Associate Athletic Director Aaron Goebbel issued the following statement to MetroNews Thursday:
Marshall Athletics administration and head football coach Doc Holliday were not made aware of the 2009 allegation facing Mr. Smith. The University’s standard background check, prior to his January 2010 hire here, yielded no information concerning the incident. Mr. Smith left the Thundering Herd in January 2011 to join the coaching staff at Temple University after one year at Marshall.
In the 2010 Marshall Football Media Guide, Holliday called Smith “an outstanding young football coach who has a tremendous background and a bright future. He has spent the last five years working closely with Urban Meyer and has been heavily involved with their special teams and their success.”