Alabama coach Nick Saban denied offering a job to former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith, who was fired in July 2018 amid allegations of domestic violence.
In text messages released Friday by Ohio State related to Smith’s firing, the former wide receivers coach wrote to then-head coach Urban Meyer in January 2018 to say that Alabama had offered him a chance to join Saban’s staff.
Saban said he interviewed Smith but went in a different direction after a vetting process.
“He did a nice job in the interview,” Saban said Saturday at the team’s Media Day. “But it was when we did the background check that we decided that there was a better opportunity to hire somebody else, and that’s what we did.”
Saban eventually hired Josh Gattis for the position in January 2018; Gattis is now the offensive coordinator at Michigan.
Smith returned to Ohio State before his ex-wife Courtney Smith sought a court order for protection against him, which led to media reports of other alleged domestic-violence incidents involving the coach over several years.
“I think it’s pretty common that sometimes people that get interviewed someplace or someone calls and shows interest in them ... that you go in and use that as leverage to try and improve your situation where you are now,” Saban said. “We talk to a lot of coaches about a lot of things. I really never did ever offer this guy a job.”
Meyer texted to an undisclosed recipient that “Zach Smith was offered wr/passing game coord at Alabama. Went there to talk to Saban. At first thought maybe he should go then decided that all effort I’ve put (into) him and it’s Alabama. I told him to stay and he turned it down. Every (expletive) day it’s something.”
—Field Level Media