Jaguars’ Urban Meyer makes controversial hire in Chris Doyle, issues statement defending his decision

Urban Meyer knows how to make an entrance, that’s for sure. Having been courted by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Kahn on a yacht off the coast of North Florida, Meyer joins the team as their head coach for 2021 and beyond, taking the reins from Doug Marrone. A key reason Meyer — who is a Florida legend from his time spent with the Gators — chose to use the Jaguars as his jumping off point in the NFL is multifaceted, but most certainly aided by the fact they own the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft along with enough collateral to rebuild the team in the way he sees fit. 

Before he can get to tweaking the roster, however, he needed to complete the task of finalizing his coaching staff on offense, defense and special teams, and he’s now done just that. The team formally announced Meyer’s complete staff a few days after Super Bowl LV, and while it’s mostly garnered praise from football minds who see it as a strong foundation for Meyer’s inaugural season at the professional level, one hire in particular instantly created a slew of raised eyebrows around the league — namely Chris Doyle. 

His departure from the University of Iowa last June was marred with controversy when Doyle, then a 20-year veteran of the program and highest-paid strength and conditioning coach in the country, was put on administrative leave following a list of African-American players alleging Doyle treated them negatively and unfairly because of their race. His new job under Meyer will be the first since the Hawkeyes divorced him, and it’s already drawing criticism.

Meyer issued a statement following the decision to bring Doyle on-staff, via NFL.com.

“I’ve known Chris for close to 20 years. Our relationship goes back to when I was at Utah, and he was the No. 1 strength coach. He was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports. I’ve known him. I’ve studied him. We’ve had a relationship. I vetted him thoroughly, along with our general manager [Trent Baalke] and owner [Shad Khan]. Feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position. So we vetted him thoroughly. Sports performance is going to be a high, high priority. As it really in the last probably 10 years, certainly at Ohio State, that became if not the most important — you know my relationship with Coach [Mickey] Marotti at Ohio State — but this whole from strength training room, physical therapy, sports psychology, and nutrition all falls under the sports performance team umbrella. And I wanted to get the best of the best.”

Meyer went on to note, because of the above stated, he has no reservations about hiring Doyle, but this won’t smooth things over as much as he might believe. This is especially true when considering Meyer recently led an Ohio State staff swamped with controversy due to allegations of domestic violence from then assistant coach Zach Smith toward his ex-wife, Courtney, which led to Meyer being suspended.

So it stands to reason not everyone would grant Doyle their blessings based solely upon Meyer’s say-so.

Additionally, the Jaguars aren’t exactly Cinderella at the ball, considering they were recently on the losing end of an NFLPA grievance — albeit for a much different reason — that also led the NFLPA to go as far as recommending free agents avoid signing in Jacksonville. As the organization tries to put on a new face with the hopes of revamping its image, the hiring of Doyle is a curious one, and it’ll be on Meyer to make sure the train remains on the track as he tries his hand in the NFL with a franchise viewed by many (including several former big-name players like Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Fournette) as perennially toxic. 

Needless to say, while he’s stolen the headlines, Doyle isn’t the only one joining Meyer’s staff and below is the complete list of hires and key notes for each.

Chris Doyle

Director of Sport Performance

  • Former Head Strength and Conditioning Coach (NCAA): Iowa

Charlie Strong 

Asst. Head Coach & Inside LBs Coach

  • 38 years experience coaching in college football
  • Won national titles in 2006 and 2008 at Florida

Darrell Bevell

Offensive Coordinator

  • 21st season in the NFL
  • Most recently served as interim HC & OC for the Lions
  • One Super Bowl title (Seattle Seahawks)

Joe Cullen

Defensive Coordinator

  • 15th season in the NFL
  • Former Ravens defensive line coach
  • Former defensive coordinator at Indiana University and Richmond University

Brian Schneider

Special Teams Coordinator

  • 11 seasons as Seahawks special teams coordinator

Brian Schottenheimer

Passing Game Coordinator

Sanjay Lal

Wide Receivers Coach

Tyler Bowen

Tight Ends Coach

  • Former TE coach and co-offensive coordinator (NCAA): Penn State

Bernie Parmalee

Running Backs Coach

  • Former RBs coach (NFL): Falcons, Raiders

George Warhop

Offensive Line Coach

  • Third season with Jaguars

Todd Washington

Assistant Offensive Line Coach

  • Former assistant offensive line coach (NFL): Ravens, Jets
  • Former offensive coordinator (NCAA): University of San Diego

Quinton Ganther

Offensive Quality Control

  • Former running backs coach at Weber State
  • Three consecutive Big Sky titles at Weber State
  • Two-time All-Mountain West running back at Utah under coach Urban Meyer

Will Harriger

Offensive Assistant Coach

  • Former offensive assistant and running backs coach (NFL): Falcons
  • Former offensive assistant and assistant quarterbacks coach (NFL): Seahawks

Chris Ash

Defensive Backs Coach – Safeties

  • Former Rutgers head coach
  • Former defensive coordinator (NCAA): Texas, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Arkansas
  • National championship (OSU – 2014)

Joe Danna

Defensive Backs Coach – Nickels

  • Fifth season with the Jaguars

Tony Gilbert

Assistant Linebackers Coach

  • Second season with the Jaguars

Sterling Lucas

Assistant Defensive Line Coach

  • Former defensive assistant and assistant DL coach of the Ravens

Tosh Lupoi

Defensive Line Coach

  • Former defensive line coach (NFL): Falcons, Browns

Zachary Orr

Outside Linebackers Coach

  • Former Ravens linebacker
  • Former defensive analyst (NFL): Ravens

Carlos Polk

Special Teams Assistant

  • Former assistant special teams coach (NFL): Chargers, Bucs, Cowboys
  • Former Chargers Special Teams Player of the Year (2002)

Patrick Reilly

Defensive Quality Control Coach

  • Former defensive analyst (NCAA): Alabama

Bob Sutton

Senior Defensive Assistant

  • Former senior defensive assistant (NFL): Falcons
  • Former defensive coordinator (NFL): Chiefs, Jets
  • Former assistant head coach and LBs coach (NFL): Jets
  • 47 years combined coaching experience (NCAA, NFL)

Tim Walton

Secondary Coach

  • Third season with Jaguars

Anthony Schlegel

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach

  • Former associate director of football sport performance (NCAA): Ohio State

Brandon Ireland

Assistant Strength Coach

  • Former assistant strength and conditioning coach (NFL): Falcons

Adam Potts

Assistant Strength Coach

  • Former assistant strength and conditioning (NFL): Falcons
  • U.S.A. Olympic weightlifting competitor

Cedric Scott

Assistant Strength Coach

  • 10th season with Jaguars
  • Inductee into the University of Southern Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame




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