Reports: Washington State fires Nick Rolovich for refusing vaccine mandate
Washington State coach Nick Rolovich was terminated for cause Friday for a refusing to become vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to multiple reports.
Rolovich, 42, had filed a request for a religious exemption to the mandate that all employees in the state become vaccinated by Oct. 19, and Monday his request — reviewed anonymously — was denied, reported first by the Oregonian.
Rolovich was the only major college head coach known to refuse to become vaccinated, and university president Kirk Schulz, a career scientist, had been supportive of Gov. Jay Inslee’s mandate issued months ago.
Several of Rolovich’s assistant coaches were also unvaccinated and were also expected to be terminated. The Cougars, 4-3 this season, were 5-6 during Rolovich’s 1 1/2 seasons as WSU’s coach. Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert was expected to be named interim coach.
“It certainly skews the perception of our message,” Schulz told The New York Times last week. “At most universities, people pay attention to what the university president, the football coach, the basketball coach and the athletic director have to say — that’s just the reality. People look at them for leadership because they’re highly visible and highly compensated. It doesn’t help when you have people who are contrary to the direction we’re going.”
Inslee announced last week that more than 90% of Washington state government workers have been verified as fully vaccinated. Rolovich was the state’s highest-paid employee at $3.2 million a year.
Washington State won its third consecutive game Saturday and the players gave their coach a Gatorade shower in celebration, obviously aware that it might be his final game.
–Field Level Media