Carlisle official: Resigned football coach’s OVI conviction ‘not a disqualifier’ when he was hired

Carlisle schools knew about one of T.J. Smart’s OVI convictions when he was hired as football coach earlier this year, but the superintendent said “that is not a disqualifier” and officials warned him about future behavior.

Smart resigned as Carlisle’s coach on Wednesday after being arrested and accused of stealing money from his full-time employer, Beavercreek Local Schools.

He was put on paid administrative leave on Tuesday from Beavercreek schools, where he has worked as a special education aide for nine years.

Smart, a 2008 Fairmont graduate, was arrested in June 2012 and later convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, according to Kettering Municipal Court records. His license was suspended for 180 days, and he was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation, according to the court records.

Fairborn Municipal Court records show Smart pleaded guilty and paid a fine after being charged in April 2015 with disorderly conduct by intoxication. According to the Fairborn police report, an officer found Smart sleeping in his vehicle parked at Taco Bell, 3218 Dayton Xenia Road. Smart smelled of alcohol, was unsteady on his feet, and there was an open bottle of Reds Apple Ale in his vehicle, according to the report.

Smart’s mother was called and responded to the restaurant to take her son home, according to the report.

In a separate traffic violation the following month, the highway patrol charged Smart with OVI. A trooper spotted Smart driving 70 mph in a 50 mph zone on Research Boulevard, according to the patrol’s report on file with Fairborn Municipal Court.

The trooper attempted to stop Smart with emergency lights and sirens, but Smart continued and did not stop until he pulled into his driveway on Maple Hill Terrace, according to the patrol’s report.

During the traffic stop, Smart failed the field sobriety test and later failed a breath test, which showed he had a .173 blood-alcohol content, according to the report.

A judge sentenced him to 18 days of house arrest with driving privileges granted for coaching and teaching. Smart was released from the court-ordered community control in May 2016, according to court records.

Carlisle Superintendent Larry Hook said the district did a background check on Smart and was aware of one OVI charge from his past during the interview process, but he said “that is not a disqualifier.”

Hook said there was a discussion during Smart’s interview about the OVI issue and he was told “that can’t happen here.”

“We’re not condoning it, but we felt like he made a mistake,” Hook said. “It’s one thing to be ‘young and dumb’ but it’s another thing when you’re the head football coach.”

Smart is due May 28 in Fairborn Municipal Court for an arraignment on the misdemeanor theft charge.

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