Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has recruited an assistant from his Florida staff with the announcement today that Zach Smith would join his Ohio State coaching staff as a wide receivers coach. Smith was wide receivers and special teams coach for the past year at Temple University, which won nine games this season, including its first bowl win (37-15 over Wyoming in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl) in 32 years.
“Zach Smith has already coached with me for five seasons, and so I know what a quality coach he is,” Meyer said. “He knows my system inside and out and he teaches the system the way I want it to be taught. He has coached and taught some great players already, like Percy Harvin, Aaron Hernandez and Louis Murphy.”
Smith spent five years as a graduate assistant and quality control assistant for Meyer at Florida, during which time Florida won a pair of national championships while producing some of the best offensive and special teams units in the country. Smith was a special teams quality control coach for three years (2005-07) and an offensive graduate assistant for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He assisted with coaching the UF wide receivers, quarterbacks and special teams during his time in Gainesville.
Smith left Florida to work on Doc Holliday’s staff at Marshall for the 2010 season. He then moved on to Temple when Steve Addazio took over that program this year. He was coach of the wide receivers and special teams at both schools.
Marshall’s receivers totaled 152 catches for 1,824 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010 and featured all-Conference USA performer Aaron Dobson. Temple’s receivers managed 66 catches for 961 yards and eight touchdowns despite the Owls featuring the seventh-best rushing offense in the country and the top unit in the Mid-American Conference.
Additionally, Temple’s special teams ranked first in the MAC in kickoff returns and second in net punting and punt returns. Those units ranked fourth, 14th and 23rd nationally.
“Zach has done a terrific job as wide receivers coach at both Marshall and this past year at Temple,” Meyer said. “I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to work with him again. Ohio State is going to benefit from his coaching and his abilities as a recruiter.”
Columbus is home for both Smith, a Dublin Coffman graduate, and his wife Courtney, who attended Thomas Worthington High School.
“It is really, really a dream come true,” Smith said Wednesday evening. “I grew up watching Ohio State, my Grandfather coached here and I always dreamt of doing it, too.
“Plus I have an opportunity to work with Coach Meyer again. I was able to spend five years on his staff at Florida, and now working with him again is another dream come true for me. It’s like two dreams coming true. I’m really excited, and it is wonderful to be back home.”
Even before accepting this position, Smith has had an incredibly emotional week. While he has experienced the thrill of a bowl victory and been recruited by Meyer to coach at his hometown school that just happens to be one of the Top 5 programs in the country, it has been a most difficult time for he and his extended family as well. His Grandmother, Jean Bruce, wife of 56 years to Earle Bruce, succumbed to illness last Friday – the day before Temple’s bowl game – and she was laid to rest yesterday.
“My coming home has added another element to everything that has gone on this week,” Smith said. “My Grandma would be very proud of me. I feel honored to come back and work at this university where both she and my Grandfather’s hearts have always been and I grew up loving.”
Smith, a 2007 graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in sports management, and wife Courtney have one son, Cameron (2 in February) and are expecting a second child.