Report: Mothers of both Zach and Courtney Smith claim ex-OSU assistant is victim of retaliatory plot by ex-wife

More family drama has reportedly been revealed in Ohio State’s Zach Smith saga, as an author of multiple books about the Buckeyes has published claims from the mothers of both Smith and his ex-wife doubting the allegations against Urban Meyer’s longtime assistant.

In a report published independently on Facebook, Jeff Snook laid out quotes from Lynn Bruce, Smith’s mother and the daughter of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, and Tina Carano, the mother of Smith’s ex-wife Courtney. Both mothers claimed Courtney told them of a vindictive revenge plot against Smith and Meyer that she has been apparently planning since 2013.

UPDATE: Veteran reporter Brett McMurphy reached out to Carano following Snook’s report and received pictures of text messages Carano claimed to have sent to Zach Smith in 2014 indicating her disgust over “repeated abuse against Courtney.” Carano claimed Smith’s alleged abuse took the form of “putting his hands against her throat and pushing her against a wall to get away.”

McMurphy also reached out to Courtney, who reportedly said “I still love my mom, but I’m really hurt she has chosen not to support me during this difficult time.”

Zach Smith’s mother claims abuse allegations part of planned revenge

Bruce claimed Courtney Smith told her of the plan multiple times since 2013, when Courtney reportedly learned of her ex-husband’s infidelity.

“She told me that not one time, but in fact she said it several times over the years,” Bruce said.

She was driven by revenge when she found out her husband had cheated on her, Bruce said.

“When she found out five years ago that Zach had cheated on her, she was so angry that she vowed to me she would get back at him someday. And she said she would take Urban down, too,” she said. “And this is exactly what she did. She wanted to do as much damage as possible.

“She has been planning this for some time.”

Carano, who Snook said has become estranged from her daughter over the issue, apparently only texted with the reporter, but reportedly said that she does not believe Smith’s alleged domestic abuse was intentional. She also confirmed she heard her daughter say she would “take Zach down.”

When asked if she believed her daughter’s claims of physical abuse, she replied, “I believe that Zach was removing himself from an argument and I do not believe he intentionally abused her. I do not believe he actually intentionally swung or punched her … no.”

As far as ever hearing her daughter say she would “take Zach down,” she replied, “Yes.”

And when Meyer’s name was mentioned, she added, “I cannot quote her exact words as I don’t remember them word for word, but something to that extent. This is my daughter and I love her but I do not approve of what she has done and how it was done.”

Following that text, she did not respond to follow-up questions.

Bruce later claimed that Courtney Smith had called 911 to the point that local police “grew tired of her,” with nine police calls to the family’s home resulting in zero charges. She also attempted to explain the origin of Courtney’s multiple pictures of herself bruised from Smith’s alleged domestic violence.

“I witnessed what she did several times: She would get in his face and block his path while screaming at him. One time when I was there, he was trying to walk down the steps and she blocked him so he couldn’t leave the house. He couldn’t get by her and he had to leave, so he just picked her up by the arms and placed her to the side, so he could walk by and walk out the door. When he did that, I am sure that would leave red marks on her arms. It would if he picked me up and moved me, too. Then she would take a picture.”

Zach Smith fired from OSU over reports of 2009, 2015 incidents

While Bruce claimed Courtney Smith’s revenge plot goes back to 2013, it has been reported that Courtney’s accusations go as far back as 2009, when Smith was an assistant under Meyer at Florida and was accused of throwing her against a bedroom wall. Meyer confirmed at last month’s Big Ten Media Days that he was aware of the incident.

Smith was fired on July 23, shortly after a report detailing Courtney’s claims of abuse was published on Facebook by independent reporter Brett McMurphy. Meyer was subsequently placed on paid administrative leave when McMurphy published another report indicating the Ohio State head coach might have lied about his knowledge of another domestic violence incident in 2015.

Smith has publicly denied his ex-wife’s allegations, saying he had never committed domestic abuse against her, but did admit some things “got out of hand.” Meyer has also defended himself, claiming he knew of the 2015 incident, reported it through the proper channels and accidentally lied about it during the Big Ten Media Days.

The mothers of both Zach and Courtney Smith are apparently siding with the former Ohio State assistant coach. (AP Photo)
The mothers of both Zach and Courtney Smith are apparently siding with the former Ohio State assistant coach. (AP Photo)

Who is Jeff Snook?

While McMurphy independently published the bombshell allegations against Smith on Facebook, Snook also used Facebook to report these explosive claims in defense of Smith. McMurphy was well-established as one of ESPN’s top college football reporters before he was laid off earlier this year.

Snook has published four books covering Ohio State football, including “What It Means to Be a Buckeye.” The foreword of that book was written by Urban Meyer, who opened by praising Earle Bruce, who died in April and is the grandfather of Zach Smith and father of Lynn Bruce.

“In looking back, it seems it all came together for me when I came to Ohio State in 1986 to accept a graduate assistant position with Earle Bruce. I have to thank him for that. To this day, we are very, very close.”

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