Urban Meyer is building out his Jacksonville Jaguars staff, as he prepares for his first year as a coach in the NFL. One of his notable hires is a pretty controversial one: former Iowa football strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, who is the Jags’ new Director of Sport Performance.
The 2020 offseason was a tumultuous one for the Iowa program. Doyle was alleged to have mistreated members of the Hawkeyes program on the basis of their race, charges that he denied. He was dismissed by the school, who had been the highest-paid strength coach in the sport, and a close ally of Kirk Ferentz for 20 years.
“I remember whenever walking into the facility it would be difficult for black players to walk around the facility and be themselves,” former All-Big Ten defensive back Amani Hooker, now a member of the Tennessee Titans, said on Twitter as the allegations came out. “As if the way you grew up was the wrong way or wasn’t acceptable & that you would be judge by that and it would impact playing time.”
Less than a year later, and Doyle has a new gig in the NFL coaching for Meyer. The two have both spent time at Notre Dame and Utah, but never at the same time. This will be their first time on the same staff.
Former longtime #Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, with whom the school cut ties following allegations by former players about racial mistreatment, will join Urban Meyer's staff with the Jaguars. https://t.co/wFSbwuEW5W
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) February 11, 2021
This is certainly not the most obvious choice for someone like Urban Meyer, who has had his fill of controversial figures around his programs in the past. His final season at Ohio State began with a suspension, due to the scandal around former Buckeyes wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
Bringing someone with Chris Doyle’s reputation into an NFL locker room may not fly unless he really proves that he’s changed from the guy who allegedly intimidated Black players at Iowa for years.
There is currently one former Iowa football player on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster: fourth-year cornerback Greg Mabin.