Chris Doyle Resigns from Jaguars Coaching Staff After Backlash to Hire

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIFebruary 13, 2021

Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle walks on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Northern Illinois, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Jacksonville Jaguars director of sports performance Chris Doyle resigned Friday evening, one day after the team hired the former strength and conditioning coach at the University of Iowa. 

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Statement from #Jaguars coach Urban Meyer on Chris Doyle’s resignation: https://t.co/kX7Vo8z1Gb

Doyle parted ways with Iowa ahead of the 2020 season after several players reported racist abuse and a hostile environment at the hands of the longtime coach. New Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer made Doyle one of his first hires, initially defending the decision by pointing to a friendship with Doyle stretching nearly 20 years. 

In a statement Friday, Meyer said Doyle came to the team with an offer to resign after becoming a distraction.

The hiring struck at one of the most concerning criticisms of Meyer's career: his ability to judge character. 

During his final season coaching Ohio State in 2018, Meyer was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into his knowledge of multiple domestic abuse claims against then-Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith by his ex-wife Courtney Smith. Meyer reportedly brushed off the allegations after Courtney reported the abuse to Meyer's wife, Shelley.

Those concerns over Meyer's judgement resurfaced almost immediately in Jacksonville when Doyle was announced as a member of his staff. 

The Fritz Pollard Alliance called the decision to hire Doyle "unacceptable" in a letter to Meyer on Friday and reflective of the NFL's "good ol' boy network." 

In his statement late Friday night, Meyer admitted he "should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved." That came only one day after Meyer told reporters he vetted Doyle and didn't expect his past issues to become a problem in Jacksonville. Rather Meyer said the Jags would have the top sports performance department in the league within two years. 

That may still be possible, but it won't be Doyle running that department. 

Less than a month into his first NFL job, Meyer is already looking for replacements on his staff.