Jacksonville Jaguars strength coach Chris Doyle quits after A DAY following Iowa racism allegations

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ strength coach has left the team after just one day following uproar over accusations of racism against him at his previous job with the University of Iowa. 

Chris Doyle, 52, was hired by Jacksonville on Thursday. On Friday he resigned amid an outcry over his appointment. Doyle previously agreed to leave Iowa’s football program in June amid accusations of racism and bullying, which he has denied. He left with a $1.1 million payout and agreed not to take any legal action against the school. 

Coach Urban Meyer, 56, said Doyle – a long-time friend who vouched for the assistant coach – resigned, and he had accepted.

‘Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville,’ said Meyer, the decorated former college coach who is entering his first NFL job. 

Chris Doyle was accused by players in Iowa of demeaning and belittling black athletes

Chris Doyle was accused by players in Iowa of demeaning and belittling black athletes

Chris Doyle was accused by players in Iowa of demeaning and belittling black athletes

New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said he accepted Doyle's resignation

New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said he accepted Doyle's resignation

New Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said he accepted Doyle’s resignation

‘We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved.

‘We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.’

Doyle was accused by more than a dozen players of bullying and discrimination during his tenure at Iowa. 

Former Iowa safety Diauntae Morrow (pictured) alleged Doyle had told him he would send him 'back to the ghetto.' Morrow ultimately transferred to Toledo

Former Iowa safety Diauntae Morrow (pictured) alleged Doyle had told him he would send him 'back to the ghetto.' Morrow ultimately transferred to Toledo

Former Iowa safety Diauntae Morrow (pictured) alleged Doyle had told him he would send him ‘back to the ghetto.’ Morrow ultimately transferred to Toledo 

Former players said he mistreated and belittled African Americans, including a claim that he told a black player to ‘go back to the ghetto’ and threatened to put another ‘back on the streets.’ 

Other players said he joked about black people being afraid of water. 

Doyle, who was college football’s highest-paid strength coach at $800,000 a year, denied the accusations but agreed not to take any legal action against the school in exchange for a $1.1 million severance package. 

An investigation by an outside law firm after his departure, however, found that the program he oversaw ‘perpetuated racial and culture biases and diminished the value of cultural diversity,’ and allowed coaches to demean players without consequence.

When Doyle was hired, the Fritz Pollard Alliance, whose mission is to increase diversity in the NFL, attacked Jacksonville’s leadership and said racist allegations at Iowa should have disqualified Doyle as a coaching candidate.

Meyer was singled out for particular criticism, having vouched personally for his friend. 

In a statement in June, Doyle denied accusations of racial bias as he left the University of Iowa

In a statement in June, Doyle denied accusations of racial bias as he left the University of Iowa

In a statement in June, Doyle denied accusations of racial bias as he left the University of Iowa

‘At a time when the NFL has failed to solve its problem with racial hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches,’ the alliance said in a statement Friday.

‘Doyle’s departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of black players.

‘His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa.

‘Urban Meyer’s statement – I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years – reflects the good ol’ boy network that is precisely the reason there is such a disparity in employment opportunities for black coaches.’

The appointment of Doyle was met with immediate criticism.

‘Can’t make a worst (sic) first impression within a locker room than hiring an accused racist, who was fired from his previous job,’ tweeted Daryl Ruiter of Cleveland radio station, WKRK. 

‘Terrible hire by Urban Meyer.’ 

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Doyle's hiring on Thursday, and his departure on Friday

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Doyle's hiring on Thursday, and his departure on Friday

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Doyle’s hiring on Thursday, and his departure on Friday

Daryl Ruiter of Cleveland radio station WKRK strongly disagreed with Meyer's choice of Doyle

Daryl Ruiter of Cleveland radio station WKRK strongly disagreed with Meyer's choice of Doyle

Daryl Ruiter of Cleveland radio station WKRK strongly disagreed with Meyer’s choice of Doyle

The Jaguars boasted about their new strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle on Twitter

The Jaguars boasted about their new strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle on Twitter

The Jaguars boasted about their new strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle on Twitter 

Former Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels (pictured), now with the Chicago Bears, was the first to raise the issue of the Iowa staff's treatment of players

Former Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels (pictured), now with the Chicago Bears, was the first to raise the issue of the Iowa staff's treatment of players

Former Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels (pictured), now with the Chicago Bears, was the first to raise the issue of the Iowa staff’s treatment of players

Meyer defended the hiring of Doyle on Thursday, saying he ‘vetted him thoroughly along with our general manager and owner.’

‘I feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position,’ Meyer said.

‘I vet everyone on our staff, and like I said, the relationship goes back close to 20 years and a lot of hard questions asked, a lot of vetting involved with all our staff. We did a very good job vetting that one.’

Meyer added that owner Shad Khan was involved with all of the ‘high-end hires,’ including Doyle.

‘I know the person for close to 20 years and I can assure them there will be nothing of any sort in the Jaguar facility,’ Meyer said. 

Zach Smith (pictured) was protected by Meyer but ultimately sentenced to 180 days in prison in February 2020

Zach Smith (pictured) was protected by Meyer but ultimately sentenced to 180 days in prison in February 2020

Zach Smith (pictured) was protected by Meyer but ultimately sentenced to 180 days in prison in February 2020

Hiring Doyle rekindled memories of Meyer protecting assistant coach Zach Smith for years at Ohio State. 

The Buckeyes suspended Meyer for three games shortly before the 2018 season for mishandling Smith’s misconduct that included domestic violence allegations, a drug problem and poor job performance.

An investigation turned up ‘a pattern of troubling behavior by Zach Smith: promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior, drug abuse, truancy, dishonesty, financial irresponsibility, a possible NCAA violation, and a lengthy police investigation into allegations of criminal domestic violence and cybercrimes,’ according to summary investigative findings released by the university.

Meyer fired Smith at Ohio State in 2018 when the assistant was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass after a dispute with his ex-wife Courtney.

Urban Meyer's decision drew criticism on social media, not just because of Doyle's past, but because of his own scandal in which he was accused of protecting an Ohio State assistant facing domestic abuse claims. Meyer (right) fired receiver coach Zach Smith (left) at Ohio State in 2018 when the assistant was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass after a dispute with his ex-wife Courtney. The arrest led to the revelation that Smith was previously accused of beating her when he worked as an assistant under Meyer at the University of Florida in 2009, when Courtney was pregnant, and again in 2015, when the couple was living near Columbus, Ohio. Courtney later told Stadium.com's Brett McMurphy that she believed Meyer was aware of the attacks

Urban Meyer's decision drew criticism on social media, not just because of Doyle's past, but because of his own scandal in which he was accused of protecting an Ohio State assistant facing domestic abuse claims. Meyer (right) fired receiver coach Zach Smith (left) at Ohio State in 2018 when the assistant was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass after a dispute with his ex-wife Courtney. The arrest led to the revelation that Smith was previously accused of beating her when he worked as an assistant under Meyer at the University of Florida in 2009, when Courtney was pregnant, and again in 2015, when the couple was living near Columbus, Ohio. Courtney later told Stadium.com's Brett McMurphy that she believed Meyer was aware of the attacks

Urban Meyer’s decision drew criticism on social media, not just because of Doyle’s past, but because of his own scandal in which he was accused of protecting an Ohio State assistant facing domestic abuse claims. Meyer (right) fired receiver coach Zach Smith (left) at Ohio State in 2018 when the assistant was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass after a dispute with his ex-wife Courtney. The arrest led to the revelation that Smith was previously accused of beating her when he worked as an assistant under Meyer at the University of Florida in 2009, when Courtney was pregnant, and again in 2015, when the couple was living near Columbus, Ohio. Courtney later told Stadium.com’s Brett McMurphy that she believed Meyer was aware of the attacks

The arrest led to the revelation that Smith was previously accused of beating her when he worked as an assistant under Meyer at the University of Florida in 2009, when Courtney was pregnant, and again in 2015, when the couple was living near Columbus, Ohio. Courtney later told Stadium.com’s Brett McMurphy that she believed Meyer was aware of the attacks.

On Thursday, Meyer’s social media critics were quick to remember the Smith scandal.

‘I would’ve thought Urban Meyer was tired of having to answer questions about the character of his staff members, if you know what I’m saying,’ tweeted The Athletic’s Stephen Holder. ‘Yet, here we are.’

‘Well if Urban Meyer vouches for someone’s character,’ wrote one sarcastic Twitter user, ‘you can take that to the bank.’

Zach Smith pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in October of 2018 in connection with his arrest in July of that year. He also signed a consent agreement and domestic violence civil protection order preventing him from having contact with Courtney for three years.

Smith violated that protection order in 2019 and was sentenced to 180 days in Jail in February of 2020.

Meyer, who is coming off his second retirement, was ultimately suspended three games as the school determined that he had been aware of the allegations against Smith, but had decided against firing him.

Courtney alleged her then-husband shoved her against a wall and put his hands around her neck in 2015, one of several alleged domestic incidents involving the couple that came to light after he was fired.

As she told Stadium, Courtney said she was left bruised after being attacked by Zach Smith

As she told Stadium, Courtney said she was left bruised after being attacked by Zach Smith

As she told Stadium, Courtney said she was left bruised after being attacked by Zach Smith 

In the days after his firing, McMurphy spoke with Courtney Smith, who claimed she believed that Meyer was aware of the abuse allegations in 2015 because she had told his wife about the incidents in detail, offering text messages to back up her claim.

Smith has denied hitting his now-former wife.

At the Big Ten media day on July 25, Meyer told reporters that he was unaware of the 2015 incident, and said he would have fired Smith at the time had he known.

After the ensuing outcry over his handling of the matter, Meyer said he knew about the accusations against Smith, but wasn’t sure they were true and kept Smith on his staff because no criminal charges were filed. The university cited that lapse in suspending Meyer for the first three games of the 2018 season after an investigation. 

In an August statement, Meyer insisted he did not lie to the media, adding that his real misstep was his failure to take ‘action sooner against a troubled employee.’

As Meyer later explained, his handling of the situation was clouded by his abiding devotion to the legacy of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, Zach’s grandfather and an early coaching mentor for Meyer.

Smith played for Meyer at Bowling Green in 2002, when the former was a walk-on. He went on to follow Meyer to Florida, where the head coach would win the first of his three national championships in 2006. After his second title in 2008, Meyer stepped away from football in 2010 before returning to coach the Buckeyes in 2012. He brought along Smith, who would serve as the Buckeye’s wide receivers coach.

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