Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich and four of his assistants are once again looking for work, but not because of poor job performance or unsavory conduct outside the office. Rolovich and his staffers were shown the door Monday — fired — for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine, which is mandated for all state employees.
Rolovich had applied for a religious exemption, but was denied. His dismissal wasn’t unexpected. Washington Governor Jay Inslee previously set an October 18th deadline for state employees to be vaccinated or terminated from their positions.
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Joining Rolovich on the undeserved unemployment line are assistants Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber. They’ll leave the Cougar program, which has won three straight games and sports a 4-3 record.
Ahead of the Pac-12’s Media Day in late summer, Rolovich shared his vaccine stance, telling reporters: “I have elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons which will remain private. While I have made my own decision, I respect that every individual — including our coaches, staff and student-athletes — can make his or her own decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Athletic director Pat Chun addressed Rolovich’s termination in a statement: “This is a disheartening day for our football program. Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the young men on our team.”
Rolovich’s contract paid him $3 million annually to coach the Cougars, which makes Rolovich and Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving two of the highest-paid public figures willing to forgo riches for their beliefs in the country.
Wazzo’s now former coach never veered from those personal beliefs. In lieu of receiving the vaccine, Rolovich wore a mask during all games this season. “He was resolute in his stance,” added Chun.
Starting quarterback Jayden de Laura was among the many Cougars who backed Rolovich, telling the media earlier this month: “We have no issue with any of our coaches. We respect their decisions.”
With Rolovich out, the Cougars have named defensive coordinator Jake Dickert as their interim head coach. His first game in charge is at home Saturday against BYU.
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