Nick Rolovich has been fired with cause after he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine, the university announced this week. His future as Washington State’s coach hung in the balance ever since the state of Washington announced a mandate for all state employees to be fully vaccinated by Monday.
Rolovich had previously stated he would not comply with the mandate.
“While I have made my own decision, I respect that every individual — including coaches, staff and student-athletes — can make his or her own decision regarding the Covid-19 vaccine,” he said in July. “I will not comment further on my decision.”
The second-year coach applied for a religious exemption to the mandate but was ultimately denied.
Four of Rolovich’s assistant coaches — Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber — were also terminated by the university for failure to get fully vaccinated by Monday.
“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,” WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun said in an announcement. “The leadership on our football team is filled with young men of character, selflessness and resiliency and we are confident these same attributes will help guide this program as we move forward.”
WSU President Kirk Schulz said in a statement, “While much has been made of the relatively small number of university employees who are not complying with the Governor’s mandate, we are immensely gratified that nearly 90 percent of WSU employees and 97 percent of our students are now vaccinated.”
Schulz went on to say, “WSU students, faculty, and staff understand the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing masks so that we can safely return to in-person learning and activities.”
Rolovich’s position will now be taken up by defensive coordinator Jake Dickert, who will be elevated to acting head coach.