UPDATE: Chris Doyle resigned his position with the Jaguars on Friday night. Head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement that Doyle “did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville.” Meyer also said the organization “should have given greater consideration to how [Doyle’s] appointment may have affected all involved.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report Doyle’s resignation.
Jaguars coach Urban Meyer has already made a controversial hire for his first staff in Jacksonville.
The team, which announced its full staff on Thursday, announced the hiring of Chris Doyle as its director of sports performance. Doyle makes the move to the NFL after a 21-year stint as Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach — a tenure that ended amid player allegations of racism and bullying by the coach.
Doyle was placed on administrative leave by the program on June 6, 2020, a day after former Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels — now with the Bears — accused Iowa of “racial disparities” in its treatment of players. Dozens of former players followed up with social media posts discussing their experiences, many of them with Doyle.
The next day, Doyle released a statement saying that “at no time have I ever crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based on race. I do not make racists comments and I don’t tolerate people that do.” Iowa on June 15, 2020, announced that it had parted ways with Doyle, who received $1.1 million as part of the separation agreement.
That Meyer would even consider hiring Doyle to coach his majority Black team raises concerns.
Those are made more pointed considering this isn’t the first time he has been criticized for his association with assistants: He retained Zach Smith as graduate assistant at Florida after learning he was arrested in a 2009 domestic violence incident with wife Courtney Smith. He also hired Zach Smith as his receivers coach at Ohio State in 2012, with documents later showing that he was aware of issues of domestic violence in the Smiths’ marriage.
Meyer, answering questions regarding his staff on Thursday, said he has known Doyle for 20 years and that he, general manager Trent Baalke and owner Shahid Khan vetted him.
Here’s Urban Meyer’s answer about hiring Chris Doyle. Says he, GM and owner vetted him.
Translation: they know, they just don’t care pic.twitter.com/2EcAuKmuJT
— Richard🇬🇾Johnson (@RJ_Writes) February 11, 2021
“I vetted him thoroughly, along with our general manager and owner,” Meyer said. “I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position. So we vetted him thoroughly.”
Regardless of Meyer’s explanation, his choice elicited plenty of criticism on social media:
To recap: Urban Meyer retired from coaching Ohio State after a member of his staff abused his then-wife while OSU did nothing. Now he’s hiring the strength coach who left Iowa after multiple Black players there said he mistreated them and made racist comments to them. https://t.co/VJV7xfSN0c
— Diana Moskovitz (@DianaMoskovitz) February 11, 2021
i did not think that there could be another hire this nfl offseason that would make the cycle look worse than it already has and YET https://t.co/rlzzVFHmlW
— Harry Lyles Jr. (@harrylylesjr) February 11, 2021
Of all the people Urban Meyer could hire, he hired this guy? Really?
Nice message you’re sending to your Black players. And Black coaches. And Black people in the organization. https://t.co/NG9d4GPNVW
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) February 11, 2021
From a former Iowa player: Doyle said, “Maybe you should take up rowing or something, you know? Oh wait, Black people don’t like boats in water, do they?”
From another Black player at Iowa: Doyle said, “Why you walking [with] all that swagger? I’ll put you back on the streets.” https://t.co/XZkz30ApDu
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) February 11, 2021
One of Urban Meyer’s 1st hired as the Jaguars head coach is Chris Doyle, former Iowa strength coach that was fired this past offseason amid claims of biased behavior based on race.
Shocking? Not really. https://t.co/TmoeGUHmwy
— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) February 11, 2021
Chris Doyle’s workouts put 13 Iowa players in the hospital. He wasn’t fired. He got an award & became CFB’s highest-paid strength coach.
Doyle was accused of racial bias by multiple Black players. He got a $1.1 million separation package & only took 8 months to find a new job. https://t.co/vritP8sAQg
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) February 11, 2021
Wow! Crazy! Iowa has produced some crazy athletes in the last two decades!
I WONDER WHY THIS COACH WAS SUDDENLY AVAILABLE TO BE HIRED ELSEWHERE https://t.co/fWZq71n62v
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) February 11, 2021