PULLMAN, Wash. -- Former University of Hawaii football coach, Nick Rolovich, was terminated as head coach at Washington State University for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Washington law required all public employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 18. Rolovich reportedly tried to get a religious exemption but was ultimately denied. At a press conference about the firing, Athletic Director Pat Chun said four assistant coaches were also terminated for the same reason. The terminations equate to half of the Cougar football coaching staff.
Rolovich gained national attention for refusing to comply with the vaccination requirements adopted in Washington over the summer. In late July, Rolovich spoke about the vaccine requirement but did not say why he refused to get one.
"As I go forward I plan on adhering to all policies that are implemented, you know for the unvaccinated at the state, local, campus, conference level. I'm not against vaccinations and I wholeheartedly support those who choose to be vaccinated including our players, staff, coaches," Rolovich said.
University President Kirk Schulz said Rolovich and the coaches who were fired on Monday were fired "for cause" and not eligible to be employed for non-compliance. Rolovich's salary as head coach at Washington State University was approximately $3.2 million annually.
Rolovich was just in his second year of a five-year contract as the Cougars’ coach. His record in that time was 5-6, due to a COVID-shortened 2020 season. Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will serve as the team's interim head coach for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Rolovich spent four years as head coach of the University of Hawaii. His tenure as Rainbow Warriors coach was capped off by a 10-5 season in 2019. He was selected as Mountain West Coach of the Year that year. Rolovich also played quarterback for UH in ‘00-‘01.
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