Rutherford Co. wrestling coach suspended after alleged sexual contact with student

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 7:57 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2023 at 5:14 PM CST
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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WSMV) - An assistant wrestling coach has been suspended after an allegation of inappropriate sexual contact with a student, Rutherford County Schools confirmed on Monday.

Byron Smith, 27, a volunteer, non-faculty wrestling coach at Blackman High School was suspended on Thursday after the school system received the allegation. He was arrested the following day, according to court records. The school has notified wrestling parents.

“We received the allegation on Thursday, Feb. 23, and he was suspended from all coaching duties the same day,” Rutherford County Schools said in a statement. “We also made a referral to the Department of Children Services and law enforcement the same day.”

According to court records, Smith was charged with five counts of sexual contact with a minor by an authority figure and solicitation of a minor - aggravated statutory rape. He was arrested on Friday, Feb. 24.

The affidavit stated that Smith met a juvenile female wrestler on at least five occasions and they engaged in “kissing on the lips.” The victim described it as “passionate making out.”

The coach and the victim became friends and began talking on social media and texting each other. The conversations turned sexual when Smith asked that they meet up at different locations. During at least one conversation, Smith asked her to have sex with him, threatening her with physical violence, to which she did not decline, according to the affidavit.

According to the school’s wrestling team website, Smith has been an assistant for four seasons.

On Monday, Smith posted a $20,000 bail.

A hearing for Smith was set for March 23 in Rutherford County General Sessions Court.