Jaguars' Urban Meyer on Chris Doyle Hire: I Saw the Distraction It Caused

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer watches during the second half of the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game between Ohio State and Wisconsin, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer spoke publicly Tuesday about Chris Doyle's brief tenure as the team's director of sports performance. 

The Jaguars announced Feb. 11 that Meyer added Doyle to his staff for the 2021 NFL season. Doyle resigned one day later amid public outcry.

Addressing the situation Tuesday, Meyer told reporters he "saw the impact of the decision and the distraction it caused":

"The most important part of the organization is and always will be our players, and I just -- we both felt, we all felt, when I say both, Trent and myself, and then Chris Doyle felt it was best, that this team didn't need [any distractions]. Everything's going too well. We hired an excellent staff. We don't need a distraction, and [to] move forward is the best interest of all."

Doyle was the longtime strength and conditioning coach at Iowa before his exit last June after former Hawkeyes players complained about how he had treated them during their time at the program, saying he made racist comments and treated Black players differently. 

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As one example, Diauntae Morrow, who eventually transferred to Toledo, said Doyle made a remark about "sending [me] back to the GHETTO." Other Black players spoke out to say they had been made to feel uncomfortable.

The university initiated an investigation by an outside law firm that found coaches attempted to forge an "Iowa way" that "was built around the stereotype of a clean-cut, white athlete from a Midwestern background."

"In sum, the program's rules perpetuated racial or cultural biases and diminished the value of cultural diversity," the report said. "The program over-monitored players to the point that they experienced heightened anxiety and maintained a culture that allowed a small group of coaches to demean players."

Meyer initially defended the hiring of Doyle by saying he vets everyone on the staff and that he had known Doyle for "close to 20 years."