Chris Doyle out as Iowa Hawkeyes strength coach after mistreatment claims

Sports

FILE – In this Sept. 1, 2018, file photo, Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle walks on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Northern Illinois, in Iowa City, Iowa. Former players have accused Doyle of bullying and making racist comments. He remains on paid administrative leave, The Associated Press reports, Friday, June 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa cut ties with strength coach Chris Doyle on Monday, announcing a separation agreement that will pay him more than $1.1 million after former Hawkeyes accused him of mistreating and belittling African American players.

The school announced the move before a news conference by athletic director Gary Barta, who released a statement wishing Doyle well. The university also said a Missouri law firm, Husch Blackwell, will conduct an independent review of allegations relating to racial disparities within the football program.

“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,” Doyle said in a prepared statement. “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.”

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)

Doyle, who earned $800,000 per year and was the highest-paid strength and conditioning coach in college football, has denied any “unethical behavior or bias” based on race. Under the separation agreement, Doyle will be paid 15 months’ salary and for unused vacation. There will be two payments of $556,249.50 — the first on August 1 and the second on January 1. Doyle agreed not to take any legal action against the university, the board of regents or state of Iowa.

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

“There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program. Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long,” Daniels tweeted June 5.

Dozens of former players followed with social media posts about their experiences, with many accusing Doyle of making racist remarks and belittling players. Doyle was placed on paid administrative leave June 6. Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, and assistant defensive coordinator Seth Wallace also have been alleged to have made inappropriate comments to players.

Kirk Ferentz said Friday the coaching style by some of his assistants “at times was demeaning and created unnecessary frustration and anxiety. One byproduct of that is that some of our black athletes feeling they couldn’t be themselves in our culture, and to that end we must be more inclusive and more aware.”

FILE – In this Dec. 27, 2019, file photo, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz watches from the sideline during the second half of the team’s Holiday Bowl NCAA college football game against Southern California in San Diego. Iowa football strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave after several black former players posted on social media about what they described as systemic racism in the program. Ferentz made the announcement Saturday, June 6, 2020, calling it “a defining moment” for Iowa’s football program in a video posted on the team’s Twitter account. (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez, File)

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