When Kirk Ferentz took over at the University of Iowa, he made a key hire in Chris Doyle. Since becoming the Hawkeyes’ strength and conditioning coach in 1999, Doyle has churned out freakish NFL players on an annual basis.
But after two decades, he and the university parted ways in light of allegations of racist comments and mistreatment of black players. Fortunately for Chris Doyle, he’ll still get $1.1 million despite losing his job.
Iowa has produced a number of top-notch NFL players over the years
Iowa’s football program has made massive strides under Kirk Ferentz and Chris Doyle. While the former calls the shots on the field, the latter played a pivotal role in producing future NFL stars. More than 70 Hawkeyes developed into NFL draft picks in the last 20 years.
In the early years, Aaron Kampan and Dallas Clark went from Hawkeyes legends to NFL stars. Iowa’s 2004 draft class produced Robert Gallery, who went second overall to the Oakland Raiders. Former Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders went 42 picks later and carved out a fantastic—albeit short-lived—NFL career.
Of course, the biggest star to emerge from the depths of Doyle’s strength program is easily Marshal Yanda. The Baltimore Ravens got an incredible return on their third-round investment. For more than a decade, Yanda dominated at guard and earned eight Pro Bowl selections.
Even in the last decade alone, Iowa has kept the NFL bloodline pumping. George Kittle didn’t put up big numbers in college, but he’s quickly become one of the NFL’s best tight ends. Riley Reiff and Mike Daniels have become long-term starters for multiple franchises. T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant both went in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft.
Most recently, Tristan Wirfs became the lastest first-round pick to come from Iowa’s storied program. He’ll now be tasked with protecting Tom Brady. Wirfs gained internet fame for some of his impressive feats of strength. And he wouldn’t have accomplished that without Chris Doyle.
Chris Doyle has been a mainstay at Iowa
A Massachusetts native, Doyle has been immersed in sports dating back to his days as a kid. He played football at Boston College High School. He attended Boston University, where he got his formal education in everything he’d need to become a successful strength and conditioning coach. Since joining Iowa in 1999, he’s become one powerful figure.
According to a 2017 piece on Hawk Central, Doyle has spent years helping football players not only sculpt their bodies but change their mindsets.
“That’s every single interaction,” Doyle says. “Every single time you shake an athlete’s hand and look them in the eye (or) see them in the morning when they walk in the building, you are developing their character. You are developing your relationship with them.
Ironically, Doyle’s interactions with his players led to his outing at Iowa.
Doyle will still get $1.1 million despite losing his lucrative strength and conditioning job
In a time where coaches have come under fire for their past interactions with black players, Chris Doyle found himself in hot water, too. On Monday, ESPN reported that Iowa had reached a separation agreement with Doyle. He had been placed on administrative leave on June 6 after a group of former players made allegations that they’d been mistreated.
According to the report, most of the allegations came from black players, and Doyle appeared to be the chief culprit. By parting ways, Doyle will no longer serve as Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach—a job that made him a very wealthy man. He hauled in $800,000 annually, which represented the top salary of any S&C coach in the nation.
“Iowa City has been home to our family for 21 years,” Doyle said in a prepared statement. “I am grateful Iowa football provided an opportunity to work with incredible players, coaches, and support staff. I have worked diligently to make a positive impact on the lives of student-athletes, support them as they speak out, and look forward to continued growth. I am confident that my record and character will be confirmed in the course of the independent review. The university and I have reached an agreement and it is time to move on from Iowa football. My family and I are looking forward to the next chapter.”
The longtime coach may have taken a serious PR hit, but his bank account will be just fine. Per the terms of the separation agreement, Chris Doyle will receive two payments of $556,249.50, plus benefits for him and his family for 15 months or until he finds a new job.