Rolovich, Washington State coach, was fired because he refused to take vaccines

Rolovich, Washington State coach, was fired because he refused to take vaccines

Washington State has fired Nick Rolovich, a football coach at Washington State, and four of his assistants for refusing to vaccinate all employees against COVID-19. This makes him the first major college coach who lost his job because of vaccination status.

Washington Governor. Jay Inslee (a Democrat) had set Monday as the deadline for vaccinations for thousands of state employees including the Cougars' coach. Rolovich requested a religious exemption. However, Pat Chun, Washington State athletic director, denied it Monday.

Jake Dickert, defensive coordinator, will be promoted to acting coach. His first game will be Saturday against BYU.

Chun stated at a news conference that "This is a difficult day for Washington State Football." "Nobody wants be here."

Assistant coaches Ricky Logo and John Richardson were also fired for refusing to vaccinate. Craig Stutzmann, Mark Weber, and Craig Stutzmann were also fired. Chun stated that there is no precedent for a team losing its coach and many assistants during the middle of a season.

He said, "Student-athletes are among the greatest losers in all of this."

Rolovich could not be reached immediately for comment.

Rolovich, 42 years old, was the highest-paid state employee. His annual salary was more than $3million. This contract runs through 2025. Although he had stated that he would not get vaccinated, he didn't give any reasons. He was the Pac-12's only unvaccinated head coaches and had worn a mask to games.

Rolovich was dismissed for cause. This means that the university doesn't have to honor his contract. However, lawsuits are possible over this decision. The Washington State athletic department currently faces a deficit of more than $30million.

Many college football coaches across the country have publicly endorsed vaccinations, including Dabo Swinney from Clemson and Nick Saban of Alabama. Lane Kiffin, Mississippi's coach, said that not being vaccinated would make him irresponsible. He also boasted about his team being 100% vaccinated.

Many coaches have spoken out about the high vaccination rates of their teams, but schools are not required to share these numbers.

COVID-19 has not caused any games to be cancelled or postponed as a result of last season's outbreak.

Rolovich, who was originally from Hawaii, was hired two years ago after Mike Leach went to Mississippi State. He led Washington State's 1-3 record in Pac-12 play in a 2020 season that was cut short by the pandemic. Washington State is now 4-3 in this season's Pac-12, with a 34-31 win against Stanford. He finishes the season with a record of 5-6 at Pullman in southeastern Washington.

Rolovich stated in July that he wouldn't get vaccinated, and could not attend Pac-12 media day because of it.

In mid-August, he stated that he would follow the mandate for vaccinations for all state employees. However, a number of times he declined to specify how.

Rolovich, who had been refusing to disclose his plans for several weeks, confirmed that he was seeking a religious exemption from the mandate on Oct. 9. Rolovich has not stated his religious beliefs.

Chun claimed that he had met Rolovich over several months but was unable to change his coach's mind.

Chun stated, "He was determined in his stance."

Rolovich had to show that he held a religious belief that would prevent him from being vaccinated. A committee reviewed the applications without knowing the names of applicants.

Rolovich had to be granted the religious exemption in order to continue his coaching career. Chun also had to determine that Rolovich was able to do his job safely and effectively. Rolovich was also a coach and managed a youth football team. He also participated in fundraising and promotional events.

Dickert, who has been Washington State's defensive coach for two seasons, came from Wyoming. He has never been a head coach before.

Chun stated that the school is seeking assistants to immediately fill the vacancies.

Kirk Schulz, Washington State President, stated that nearly 90% of WSU employees were vaccinated and 97% of WSU students were. Schulz stated that less than 50 out of 10,000 employees sought exemptions.

The issue of vaccines has been a constant distraction and dividing Washington State fans all season.

Schulz stated that there was frustration at a prominent employee refusing to get vaccinated.

As the season progressed, players stood up for their coach. After Saturday's victory, Jayden de Laura, Quarterback, told a reporter sideline: "Stop hating Rolo. We love him."

Travell Harris, wide receiver, praised Rolovich for being a coach to the players after the game.

Harris stated, "He's a coach that we all love to be for."