Washington State's Nick Rolovich Fired After Not Complying with COVID Vaccine Mandate

AP Photo/Young Kwak
Washington State has fired Nick Rolovich, head football coach in Washington State. The reason was that Rolovich failed to comply with the COVID-19 vaccination mandate which took effect Monday.

Four other staff members were also fired for not following the mandate.

Athletic director Pat Chun stated that "this is a depressing day for our football team." "The health and well-being for our young men has always been our priority and will remain so. Our football team has a strong leadership team that is composed of young men who are selfless, resilient and have character. We believe these attributes will be a guide for our program as we progress.

Washington Governor. Jay Inslee issued an order requiring all state employees to get vaccinated.

Rolovich declared July 21 that he was yet to get the vaccine, but kept the reasons for his decision secret.

In August, the 42 year-old told reporters that he would follow Washington's mandate. However, he didn't say if that meant getting vaccinated.

June Jones, former Hawaii head coach, said that Rolovich was looking for a religious exemption to the mandate.

He was unsure if he would continue to lead the Cougars this week, as the deadline approached.

He told reporters, "I'm going to come to work tomorrow." "... "... It's something I have been working on for a while, and I believe it will work out in the right direction."

Washington State defeated Stanford to improve its record to 4-3. Rolovich's players seemed to be feeling the end of their tenure as they gave him a Gatorade soak on the sidelines right after the game.

Rolovich will be replaced by Jake Dickert, defensive coordinator. His first game as a coach will be Saturday against BYU.

Washington State will likely wait until the season ends before it launches a full-time coaching search.

Although the program was successful under Mike Price and Mike Leach's leadership, it is clear that it has been difficult to keep a winner at Pullman in the years before and after their tenures.

Washington is often overshadowed and the Cougars have not won a conference title since 2002. The $3 million salary WSU paid Rolovich each year was, despite some investments in FBS arms racing, good for 51st place in the country, and 10th in the Pac-12.

Chun will have to work hard to find the right Rolovich replacement.