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Mass. native Chris Doyle out as Iowa football strength coach after mistreatment claims

Chris Doyle is from Quincy, and attended BC High and Boston University.
Chris Doyle is from Quincy, and attended BC High and Boston University.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

IOWA CITY — The University of 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 Black players.

Doyle, who is from Quincy, attended BC High and Boston University.

Iowa 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 statement. "I am confident that my record and character will be confirmed in the course of the independent review.

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"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.”

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 Aug. 1 and the second on Jan. 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.

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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.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said Monday he is standing by head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said Monday he is standing by head coach Kirk Ferentz.Joseph Cress/Associated Press

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.

In a statement made to the Globe Friday, BC High said, “We are closely monitoring the situation at the University of Iowa and will evaluate [Doyle’s] place in our Hall of Fame only after their review is complete,” while adding, “We were saddened to learn of the allegations against Chris Doyle, who graduated from our school more than 30 years ago and was inducted into our athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. Beyond the recognition of his accomplishments as a student-athlete, he has had little to no contact with the school and our students.

“At BC High, our commitment to anti-racism is about creating real and meaningful change in the culture of our school that our boys will carry with them into our wider society. We believe in the need to challenge, check, and change equity systems and structures to actively engage in dismantling systems of racism and oppression. We challenge our alumni to do the same.”

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