Given recent events surrounding my ex-husband and his obsession with Tom Herman, I thought it appropriate to release a post now about my friendship with the Hermans. Recently, my ex-husband has decided to sell “trash talk” t-shirts featuring Tom Herman and as he continues his crusade against Tom, his fixation has reached a level of absurdity and creepiness I could never have imagined.
I also think now would be the best time to skip ahead and write about them because I don’t want to cause them any distractions during their season. Realistically, I wouldn’t be able to tell my story truthfully if I left them out of it. By including them in this blog, I want to tell the truth about everything, but I also want to thank them for the many ways they have helped me during the most difficult time in my life. When I first told them I was going to write a blog and I wanted to include them in it, they were reluctant. Ultimately, they acquiesced and agreed to support me as long as I whatever I wrote, I could waltz into a courtroom with evidence in hand and defend if ever need be.
For several years now, Zach has done everything he can to strain my friendship with the Hermans and to put it bluntly, through it all they have pretty much just given him the finger. In spite of his attacks, my friendship with the Hermans remains firmly intact. Sadly, they aren’t the only people in my life that my ex-husband has attacked or threatened, but if he thought his attacks were going to run them off and leave me even more isolated, he couldn’t have been more wrong.
I’m certain people are wondering why I left the Hermans out of my interview with Brett McMurphy and there are a number of reasons, so I want to address those before I move on. First, they weren’t at Ohio State in 2015 when everything blew up and they didn’t witness any physical abuse, nor did I tell them about it while we were on staff together. Second, the information Michelle passed on would have ensnared other people and would have sent us down a rabbit hole that none of us wanted to go down. Fourth, they had been under attack from Zach since 2015 and I felt like they had done so much for me already, I wanted them to be able to focus on their lives. Last, I didn’t want them to be pressured into taking part in the Ohio State investigation, which I did not feel would be good for them.
Zach ended up accusing the Hermans of leaking information to Brett McMurphy about his issues all because of one recruit. His allegations went viral even though they weren’t true. At that time, they could have hit back hard with everything they knew, but instead stood firm and allowed me to navigate the situation and focus on my custody trial; for that I’m so thankful.
I don’t think there is anything I can ever do or say that would free the Hermans of the albatross that is Zach Smith, but at the very least I can tell the real story of our friendship. Zach does not get to dictate the narrative of how and why they have supported me all these years. He doesn’t get to paint them in a false light, while I sit by and say nothing. He can continue his fixation with Tom Herman, he can continue his hate-filled diatribes, but I’m going to say my piece and the people that care are going to know the truth about our friendship. I can never repay them for standing up for me, for their guidance, and for their unwavering support, but on my end, I want to help close the door on this situation for them. I hope this will be the last time I ever speak publicly about them. This is far from over for me and I know they will always support me and be there for me as friends, but this isn’t their battle. I doubt my ex-husband’s obsession with them will ever end, but they don’t deserve to keep being dragged into this situation.
After reading these 2 posts, if anyone is concerned for the Herman’s safety, you should be. Not so much Tom’s safety, but definitely Michelle’s. She has always stated she is not afraid of Zach, but I am, for myself and for her. Fear isn’t going to silence me anymore though. Silence is what allows abusers, criminals, monsters get away with everything they do. No more silence! I have told the Hermans to try to get a restraining order against Zach, but they have declined believing it’s not worth the effort. Recently, Zach tried to “friend” Michelle on Facebook and “liked” a comment of hers on a Facebook post of mine that was public. It’s just another of his intimidation tactics. He is not supposed to interact with me directly on social media, so it’s also another violation of my Civil Protection Order. I admit, we have all laughed off most of his tirades against them, but this might very well be illegal now and I wish the authorities would get involved.
When Zach and Tom still had a friendship, Tom used to follow Zach on social media. I know Tom does not manage his social media accounts and he has interns to handle it all. This is understandable, since he is the Head Coach of a major power 5 program, but I have advised him to block Zach from his social media anyway…not sure if he has done that yet.
As I sit here trying to write this post, I feel overwhelmed by everything that has happened over the years. I realize the best way to tell this story is to move through it chronologically, starting from when we first met. As you weave your way through these 2 posts, I think your going to see that rather than “keeping it real” or telling the truth about the Hermans, as my ex-husband has claimed, he is pretty much behaving like a psycho ex-girlfriend. Given everything we’ve discovered about Zach, there might be more to his fixation on Tom than we all realized. Remember the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley? There are definitely some parallels there…rejection is never easy on the soul.
Zach does not handle rejection well. The slightest sign of rejection, disapproval, or opposition, even from his own flesh and blood, and he will explode.
More Zach Attacks
Background – Our Time at Ohio State
I first met the Hermans when we moved to Columbus in 2012 and joined Urban Meyer’s original staff at Ohio State, prior to that, I knew nothing about them. During our time at Ohio State, I wouldn’t say that Zach and I were exceptionally close to the Hermans, being almost a decade older than we are, and Tom being Zach’s superior, it wasn’t necessarily a natural friendship. When I moved to Columbus, my situation was a little bit different than most other coaches wives. I had close relationships with the friends I made during our time in Gainesville and they had also followed Urban to Ohio State. I also had family, high school friends and college friends in Columbus, so I was never short on people to spend time with. Although we didn’t really spend a lot of time with Tom and Michelle outside of anything football related, we were definitely friends. The staff had a really good chemistry and we were all friendly with each other. Michelle and I would tailgate with the other wives and would travel together to away games and sometimes a few of us would meet up for lunch in town or have dinner together.
During our time there, Zach and Tom sometimes recruited together, but not to the extent people have played it up…I can only ever recall 2 overnight trips and several day trips. One trip in particular took place in Florida, which was the scene of the infamous strip club visit. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that when Zach returned from this visit and I questioned him about it, he tried to blame Tom Herman for blowing all of our money and “forcing him” to go to the club. Even though his claims didn’t add up – Tom spent his own money, it was Zach’s recruiting territory and his high school coaches, Michelle knew where Tom was, Tom got on a flight early the next morning, Zach stayed behind and blew through even more money – I foolishly believed him and reported the trip to Shelley Meyer. When I post about Urban and Shelley, I will get into more detail about what happened after the trip and the many lies Zach told me and everyone else.
Although Zach and Tom were friends, Tom was one of a number of coaches Zach would use to try and deflect from the things he was doing. During our marriage, Zach would often make comments to me about other coaches like “this coach or that coach is such a bad husband he drinks all the time and cheats on his wife etc. etc” all while he was living a double life. He did this to so many coaches, I’ve lost count; he did this to coaches he barely knew…to him it was a matter of survival. I called this technique deflect and project. As long as he could distract me and make me believe he was being honest by revealing “secrets” about other coaches, then I wouldn’t have any reason to doubt his credibility. As you can see, deflect and project is a technique that he still employs to this day, but now on a wider scale. Narcissists – Deflection and Projection
That’s a funny thing about Zach, it’s not just his lack of self-awareness, delusion and hypocrisy, it’s also his own disloyalty. He expected undying loyalty from his friends and everyone around him, while he thought nothing of throwing other people under the bus and did things like record his buddies without their consent, lied about them and did everything he could to dig up dirt on them. Now, I’m no expert on the stipulations of “bro code,” but I believe doing all these things to “friends” is a major violation of that code.
Moving on – we spent 3 years on that staff and I feel bad for the coaches that had to put up with Zach’s laziness, immaturity, disloyalty, entitlement and his issues in his personal life for so long. Although I never talked to anyone about the abuse during that time, our marital problems were no secret. Even before our divorce, Zach was struggling to keep up with the workload and was frequently late and other coaches were having to cover for him. I didn’t realize until the night I left him, carrying on a double life coupled with his inherent laziness, was the primary reason he was a crappy coach.
Looking back, I still remember the last night the Hermans, Zach and I would all ever be in the same room together. Ohio State had just won the national championship and nobody thought they had a chance, when we returned to the hotel there was nothing to drink except one bottle of champagne all the coaches passed around. We decided to raid the mini bars in the hotel rooms and it was then that we ended up in our room in the early morning hours and the Hermans hung around and we all talked about the future. They gave us advice about dealing with agents and about us possibly moving on – getting away from Columbus and starting fresh somewhere else. Even though it was obvious Tom didn’t see Zach as responsible or mature enough to take on being a coordinator or to hire on his own staff at Houston, I really believed they wanted us to be happy and wanted what was best for us.
Maybe it was coincidental, but it seemed like everything started to fall apart once the Hermans exited the staff and moved on to a head coaching job. Zach and Ed Warriner never got on well, there was a lot of friction and it felt like there was a void left by their departure.
Not long after they moved away from Columbus, things really started to go downhill for me and Zach. June 5, 2015, was a night I will never forget; it was the night I found my ex-husband’s google drive on his work phone and the night I finally walked out on him for good. No one can prepare you for having the wind knocked out of you when you first realize your husband is a monster, deviant and certifiable. I wouldn’t say I was completely blind to my ex-husband’s faults, our marriage had already been turbulent for many years. He was abusive, drank too much and had a substance abuse problem. I long suspected him of cheating on on me and even once found him sexting with other women. However, in the darkest reaches of my mind, I could never have imagined what I would find when I opened up the google drive. I uncovered things like hundreds of disturbing and graphic pictures and videos, many of which it was clearly visible they were taken at the football facility and some where the Ohio State logo was present. The google drive was a visual representation of the dark, seedy life my ex had been living and the amount of time he invested in deceiving everyone around him, it was part trophy case, part blackmail extravaganza.
A few days later, I found another drive, this time a hard drive that belonged to both of us, but in it were hidden files that were equally as disgusting as the files I found in the google drive. The White House pics and amazon purchases didn’t scratch the surface of everything Zach was doing. All of it happened right under my nose…I was so in denial. There were so many files, it started to make sense to me why the other coaches were always complaining about Zach not finishing his work and falling asleep in meetings.
It was then I started reaching out to other people to inform them of the things I found. Two of those people were Tom and Michelle. When I first reached out to them, I didn’t tell them everything I found and I also didn’t discuss anything about the physical abuse. It was never my intent to talk to anyone about the abuse. Since I was finally leaving my marriage, I incorrectly assumed that Zach would never touch me again, so I saw no point in telling anyone about it. What I did tell them though, was enough for Tom to end his friendship with Zach. They decided Zach could not be trusted, and that he was a sociopath. There was never a “falling out” per se, it was as simple as “you are a psycho and need to get help and we don’t want anything to do with you until you do.” They were not the only people I spoke to or the only people that distanced themselves from Zach, but he seemed to be bothered the most by being cut off from Tom. It incensed Zach to the point that he would become irrationally angry if he knew I had any contact with them. What was Tom supposed to do? I don’t think Michelle or Tom were being judgmental, they were just really freaked out. Most other people would have had the same reaction.
In those first few months, I did not ask the Hermans or anyone else to intervene with Urban and Shelley, I wanted everyone to let me handle the situation. I wanted to try and piece it all together and figure out a plan for dealing with Zach. He made promises to me that he was getting counseling to deal with his issues and I wanted to give him time to get the help he needed. I knew at some point, I would have to talk to Urban and Shelley about everything, but I just didn’t know when or how I would do it.
In the months after I left Zach, I struggled moving on with my life and untangling myself from our marriage. That time was a blur; I was busy trying to manage our two kids, trying to keep my head on straight, trying to recover from the emotional wreckage and trying to figure out what I would do with my life going forward. The Hermans would check in on me every so often, but with a new life in Houston and the added responsibility of a their first head coaching job, we didn’t talk much. Zach and I maintained an uneasy relationship. He was a ticking time bomb and I felt as if I was constantly walking on eggshells around him. I wanted us to co-parent our children and to have a positive relationship with each other. I sometimes let him spend a few hours with the kids at my condo once or twice a week after he finished working. It was during one of those visits that Zach would put his hands on me for the last time. He was in my apartment that night and when I asked him to leave, he snapped and grabbed my by the throat and pushed me into a wall with my 4 year old daughter clinging to my leg. He took my son and fled the scene while I called the police.
The next day, when I showed up at the Powell Police station, I turned over everything I had. I turned over the contents of the google drive, the hard drive, my phone, my laptop and my mother (now estranged) turned over her iPad. I had enough of being physically, verbally and emotionally abused. I was certain that some of the stuff I found in the google and hard drives was illegal and I wanted them to investigate Zach for it, specifically for indecent exposure. They declined to investigate those things citing jurisdiction and told me that the people involved in the incidents would have to file complaints. Instead they focused on the domestic violence and Zach’s hacking of my wifi.
(You can read more about my estranged mother, her interview with the police and how she changed her story and lied about me in this post My Mother, My Enemy)
A few days after I reported the abuse to the Powell Police, I contacted Shelley Meyer and told her what was going on, I talked to her about the abuse and some of the stuff I found in the google drive. A few days after that, I reached out to Michelle and on that night I sobbed over the phone. I poured my heart out and told her everything I had been through with Zach and she patiently listened to me for what felt like hours. She was obviously upset, but given all his other issues, she told me she wasn’t surprised that he was violent with me. She said they believed me and would do whatever they could to help. She asked if they should talk to Urban and Shelley about the situation, I told her to hold off. I had already spoken with Shelley, so I didn’t believe there was anything more anyone could do.
During those few months, Michelle checked on me about once a week and I kept her updated on the investigation and everything that was happening in my life. I didn’t ask them for anything, other than advice on occasion; it was enough for me to know that I wasn’t being completely cast aside and that they were willing to step in if I needed it. They were always really positive and encouraged me to find a career where I could support myself and the kids in case Zach kept imploding. Tom was raised by a single mother and he felt very strongly, if it was possible, I should not rely on Zach’s child support. If I could support myself and the kids on my own, whatever Zach gave me would be “gravy” as he always called it.
Message from Michelle tagged to my old twitter account.
It’s still on her timeline.
Michelle wasn’t the only person to check on me or show me support, Shelley would also text me every so often and there were a couple of other coaches wives that would send me messages of encouragement.
Shelley Meyer messages to me
January 2016 – Intervening with the Meyers
As the investigation dragged on, I became increasingly frustrated with being kept in the dark about what was happening. I had no access to the investigation files and I was receiving mixed information from the investigators. Initially, the investigators told me they had enough to charge him with domestic violence, but in reality the investigation was going nowhere. Zach was becoming more erratic by the day and I was hearing from people inside the facility that he was a mess at work. I’ve mentioned previously that a female working for another university was in a relationship with Zach after our divorce and it was when she reached out to me in late December 2015 to tell me about an incident they had at the hotel during the 2015 Fiesta Bowl, I felt the need to reach out to the Hermans for help.
Texts from female who dated Zach after our divorce
The Hermans were having an amazing season at Houston and they were on their way back from the Peach bowl in Atlanta when I called them. I told them the story of what happened with this female and talked to them about my frustration with the investigation, Zach was out of control and someone had to reason with Urban and Shelley, so I asked if they could intervene. They had a good relationship with the Meyers and were very loyal to them, so they felt compelled to say something anyway. It was only a year since they left and they still had close relationships to the other coaches and quite a few players. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t fair to lay all that on them, but I didn’t know who else to turn to. Once I asked for help, Michelle believed they didn’t really have any other choice but to talk to Urban and Shelley. She was concerned about their own responsibility and liability if they chose not to speak up and the situation escalated to the point someone else was assaulted. Michelle agreed that it would be better if she reached out to Shelley, and Shelley should discuss everything with Urban. So, on January 3, 2016, that is what she did.
I don’t know all the details of what they discussed, I know that there was a lot of back and forth between them. Some of what I do know, I’d rather not mention…maybe someday I will. With my permission, Michelle asked Shelley to reach out to me again, so I could share the rest of everything I found with her. Shelley never did. I also know the agreement between Michelle and Shelley, was that whatever was shared between them was to be confidential/anonymous. When all of this was happening and over the past few years, the Hermans and I exchanged screenshots with each other, however, I’ve never been allowed to use their conversations with other people. However, I promised this blog would be evidenced based and I’m not going to leave room for anyone to accuse me of making this all up, so I’m going to share the least controversial of the screenshots below. As far as the Herman interaction with the Meyers, I know they would rather I let it go, but alternately they still support my right to tell my story. If anyone is wondering what the situation was with the DM vs. text, if I remember correctly, something was wrong with Michelle’s iphone/icloud.
Michelle Herman to Shelley Meyer
I don’t know what happened to the confidentiality we agreed to, I’ve heard rumors, but I know Michelle, Tom and I kept our promise. Somehow, Zach found out that Michelle reached out to Shelley and she did so with Tom’s permission. I’d like to point out that Shelley requested Michelle send her the pictures of the abuse from the investigation files, I know this for a fact because Michelle contacted me and asked my permission to release them to her and I gave her permission.
Now, not only had Zach been cut off from the Hermans, but they were also showing support for me and Michelle intervened on my behalf. Zach. Was. Enraged. The threats started right away. He wanted them to pay for what he perceived as disloyalty and even though he still had his job, he blamed them and several other people for “ruining his life,” he always blamed other people for the problems he caused himself. He would not take responsibility for his own actions, it’s how he lives his life to this very day.
We all know how things turned out in the long run, we’re talking about 4 years of our lives though. In part II of this post, I discuss the aftermath of the Hermans intervening, everything they did to help me, their confrontations with Zach, more texts and emails…it gets worse. Right now, I want to share the complete text message my ex-husband sent to Tom Herman that day in November when Zach went ballistic on twitter.
I want to dissect this text before moving on with the rest of this story in part II. Before anyone believes Zach’ bullshit, I want to say that the Hermans have never sent anyone, not even an attorney, to talk to Zach about anything. They will never negotiate with a terrorist. Zach is trying to use a mutual friend of both Tom and Zach, because he has no regard for any friendships, to achieve an illusion of the Hermans trying to silence Zach. If they were so concerned about him “exposing” them, they could have walked away from me years ago or tried to at least work things out with Zach, but they know Zach is a sociopath and they want nothing to do with him. When the media frenzy was in full effect, they could have hit back hard with what they knew, but they didn’t care enough to. They have been content to sit back and let Zach reveal himself with his every psychotic move.
Zach is also claiming to have pictures of all the shit Tom did, but they only spent 3 years on staff together and they never spent time alone and only had 1 recruiting trip where they went to a strip club together. Tom never spent time with Zach again once he left Columbus. So, if Zach took pictures of Tom then he would have taken them when they were friends. Let’s get this straight, the same man that is calling Tom Herman “a disloyal coward” is the same man that is also claiming to have taken pictures of Tom when they were friends? For the record, I never found any pictures or recordings of Tom in any of Zach’s files. I did find stuff that belonged to other people though. That is the kind of shitty stuff Zach did to people and when I confronted Zach about it, he confessed to taking pictures and recording of his friends for blackmail. That was one piece of information I shared with the Hermans.
As I read the text exchange, I can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of my ex-husband. Zach Smith, aka speedfleetzs (more on this later)…rehab dropout, Mr. Dickflash.com, calling Tom Herman the biggest bitch alive. How is that? You mean bigger than a bitch who hits women? Bigger than a bitch who blackmails and throws his own buddies under the bus? Bigger than a bitch who refuses to pay child support, but spends thousands on more amazon toys and a country club membership? Bigger than a bitch who constantly calls women cunts, bitches, whores, sluts? Bigger than a bitch who blackmails and threatens women…even one who was pregnant? Bigger than a bitch who dresses up in ball lifters, man thongs and other paraphernalia? I could go on and on, but I think everyone gets the point by now.
Finishing up part II…I hope to have it done by Saturday or Sunday!