Iowa Places Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Doyle on Administrative Leave After Racism Allegations

By Dan Hope on June 6, 2020 at 9:09 pm
Chris Doyle
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen

The Iowa football program has placed director of strength and conditioning Chris Doyle, the nation's highest-paid strength and conditioning coach in 2019, on administrative leave after multiple former Hawkeye players accused him of racism on social media.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Saturday night that an independent review will take place to determine whether to move forward with or without Doyle, while he will also be creating an advisory committee of current and former players to examine the culture of the program.

“This is a defining moment for the Iowa Hawkeye Football program,” Ferentz said. “Over the past 24 hours I have seen some difficult and heartbreaking posts on social media. I appreciate the former players' candor and have been reaching out to many of them individually to hear more about their experiences in our program. I am planning on talking to all of them in the coming days. This is a process that will take some time, but change begins by listening first.”

A multitude of former Iowa players tweeted this week about allegations of racism against Doyle and cultural issues throughout the Hawkeye football program.

Doyle disputed the allegations against him in a Twitter post on Sunday.

“I have been asked to remain silent, but that is impossible for me to do so,” Doyle said. “There have been statements made about my behavior that are not true. I do not claim to be perfect. I have made mistakes, learned lessons and like every American citizen, can do better. At no time have I ever crossed the line of unethical behavior or bias based upon race. I do not make racists comments and I don't tolerate people who do. I am confident that a complete review of the body of work over 21 years will speak for itself and I am trusting the process to respect the rights and experiences of all parties involved.”

Doyle, who made $800,000 in 2019, was the only strength and conditioning coach who made more than Ohio State's Mickey Marotti last season. Marotti is set to make $801,150 in 2020 after receiving a 9 percent raise this offseason.

Doyle has been Iowa's head strength and conditioning coach since 1999, which was also Ferentz's first year as Iowa head coach.

Ferentz also announced on Saturday that Iowa has lifted its longtime ban on players posting on social media.

“Several days ago the players asked permission to post on social media so they could participate in the national discussion around injustice, racism and inequality. As a team we agreed last Thursday to lift the longstanding ban of players on social media and so you will be seeing them enter the now broader conversation.”

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