Ohio State University assistant football coach Zach Smith has been fired, according to a university statement, after his ex-wife filed a civil protection order against him.
Courtney Smith, a resident of Powell, filed the order Friday in Delaware County Domestic Relations Court against Zach Smith, 34, the Buckeyes wide receivers coach. An Aug. 3 hearing is scheduled to discuss the matter, according to court records.
Smith’s attorney, Bradley Koffel, has argued that a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespassing filed in May was baseless and that Smith was just dropping off one of his children at his ex-wife’s apartment.
Koffel told the Dispatch last week that there were no threats, argument or physical altercation.
"They pick up and drop off like every other divorced family," he said. "They said, ‘He was told by one of our officers five months ago not to drop off at her apartment.’ I said that’s not enough to override a domestic-court order on where he’s allowed to drop off or pick up his kids. It’s a court order that controls this."
But in a court filing, Courtney Smith said her ex-husband has harassed, stalked and intimidated her.
"I am now in even more fear than ever before," she wrote in a sworn affidavit. "Zach believes he is above the law and has no respect for the authorities. I fear for my safety and my life."
Koffel said Courtney Smith is using the media and an order typically used for battered women to "regulate the pickup and drop off of her kids."
Powell Police Chief Gary Vest said that there was never any evidence of physical violence or threats, as would be required for criminal charges.
"There are no elements that fit a crime," he said, noting that a protection order often is based on perception and fear.
"Sometimes in a domestic situation, I may not trust this person. I don’t want them around," he said.
The order requires Smith to stay at least 500 feet away from his ex-wife for the next five years.
"The courts allow some distance for them to cool down a little. It’s a good system to let people catch their breath," Vest said.
Vest said the order’s length is likely connected to the age (8 and 6) of the couple’s children. He recommends that custody exchanges take place at police stations "to reduce the stress on the kids."
OSU hired Smith in 2012. His current salary is $340,000. He previously had worked at Florida, (2005-09), Marshall (2010) and Temple (2011).
OSU officials, calling it a personnel issue, said they would not comment.