Navy Football Coach Fired For Refusing School’s Mandate To Take Shot, Religious Exemption Ignored

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

On Monday, Navy football offensive assistant Billy Ray Stutzmann dropped big news that he was fired from his position due to the school’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.

The policy requires all coaches and staff to be vaccinated against the virus. Stutzmann says he failed to receive a religious exemption that would have allowed him to stay unvaccinated.

It was announced back in August that members of the United States military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow the requirements of the Naval Academy’s COVID-19 policy, as it has changed these last few months,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy. I continue to stand firm in my conviction of faith, but I understand and respect that each individual and institution has a choice on how they wish to manage these issues. I wish Navy football nothing by the best in the future.”

Head coach Ken Niumatalolo didn’t address the specifics of Stutzmann’s departure with reporters.

“He’s added a lot to our program,” Niumatalolo said Monday, per the Associated Press. “Wish him the best of luck, he and his wife Shanelle. Wonderful young man. Got a bright, bright future in this profession.”

Stutzmann played wide receiver at Hawaii from 2009-13, totaling 148 catches for 1,845 yards and nine touchdowns with the Rainbow Warriors.

He was in his third season on the Navy staff.