Nick Saban did meet with former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith in January of 2018. But he said he “really never did ever offer this guy a job."
Saban spoke to the media Saturday as Alabama opened fall camp, a day after text messages from Urban Meyer’s phone relevant to Ohio State’s 2018 investigation surrounding Smith were publicly released.
Those messages included a text from Meyer to Smith where he told his now-former assistant that he should stay at Ohio State. In another text to an unidentified recipient, Meyer said that Alabama had offered Smith a job and he had persuaded him to stay.
Smith was fired in July of 2018 after multiple allegations of domestic violence became public. Saban acknowledged that he spoke to Smith, but made sure to note why the school didn’t decide to hire him.
“I think it’s pretty common that sometimes people that get interviewed some place or someone calls and shows interest in them — the way this profession works is you go in and use that as leverage to try to improve your situation where you are now, especially if you have a job,” Saban said Saturday. “Or you decide that’s a better opportunity for you. We talk to a lot of coaches about a lot of things, I really never did ever offer this guy a job.”
“We did interview him and he did a nice job in the interview. But it was when we did the background check that we decided there was better opportunity to hire someone else and that’s what we did.”
Smith had been on Meyer’s staff since Meyer was at Florida. He was accused of domestic violence against his ex-wife Courtney in Gainesville in 2009 and again in 2015. Courtney Smith had obtained a protection order against Zach just before he was fired from Ohio State.
Saban was looking for offensive assistants ahead of the 2018 season after Brian Daboll went back to the NFL. He ended up promoting Mike Locksley to offensive coordinator and hiring Josh Gattis as the team’s wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator. Locksley is now the head coach at Maryland and Gattis is now the offensive coordinator at Michigan.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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