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At Iowa, strength and conditioning worth every penny

AP Photo/Brian Ray

For the Iowa Hawkeyes, strength and conditioning programs are a big-money deal.

Just ask coach Chris Doyle, who’s now making just under $600,000 a year, according to Chad Leistikow and Steve Berkowitz. The duo reports that Doyle will now be owed $595,000 by Iowa for one year of work, a period that started on July 1. Per the report, that’s a raise of $80,000 over Doyle’s last paycheck, which comes out to 15.5 percent.

To put that in perspective, according to Leistikow and Berkowitz, Doyle’s pay matches that of coordinators Greg Davis (offense) and Phil Parker (defense). He’s basically another coordinator, and quotes from Iowa athletic director Gary Barta seem to reflect that.

Here’s Barta:

“Most of the people who follow our program know that what’s very important to Kirk is student-athlete development — physically, mentally, leadership. He relies heavily on Chris’ role in that.”

If the price seems steep for player development, consider the following video:

Above you see Brandon Scherrf, a former all-world Iowa offensive tackle and now a member of the Washington Redskins. He’s obviously a beast, and Iowa fans (and now Washington fans as well) are used to seeing him hit #beastmode on the field on a weekly basis.

Few remember, or even know, that upon coming to Iowa as a freshman, Scherff was once a high school quarterback turned 6-foot-5, 295-pound tight end. He now checks in at 6-foot-5, 323 pounds. Sure, some of that is just natural growth from a natural athlete. To think that Doyle didn’t play a role in that process would be foolish, though. Players don’t get that big and fast and stay that agile without a tremendous coach guiding them.

Another current example of the impact of Doyle’s strength and training program is Matt Nelson, a 6-foot-8, 282-pound goliath of a defensive end. Nelson is just a sophomore. He has all the potential in the world to be a star for the Hawkeyes in time. As a recruit, though, he was ranked as a tight end and actually played wide receiver for his high school.

He had the height, but checked in at only 250 pounds. He’s since added over 30 pounds — all muscle — and is a completely transformed player, ready to go to work on Saturdays.

Again, credit Boyle for the transformation.

Here’s Barta again:

“Kirk [Ferentz] approaches the role of strength and conditioning coach as really another coordinator. We have an offensive coordinator, a defensive coordinator and then student-athlete development is the third piece of that equation.

“Bottom line, it’s important. Chris is one of the most highly respected strength coaches in the country.”

Iowa is known as a program that consistently takes under-recruited players and turns them into potential NFL performers. The Hawkeye pipeline to the NFL is strong, and that’s partially because Iowa players enter their junior and senior seasons looking the part. They look like they should play football on Sundays.

Yes, a lot of that has to do with the consistent coaching of Ferentz and his staff over the years, but the role of Iowa’s strength and conditioning program can’t be denied.

Doyle has been on Iowa’s staff for 18 years and has always been a huge part of the Hawkeyes’ success. He’ll make more than double the money of many Big Ten peers, and more than 29 FBS public-school head coaches, per Leistikow and Berkowitz.

He’ll be worth every penny.

At Iowa, strength and conditioning worth every penny

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