Washington State Football Coach Nick Rolovich Ousted After Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine
Nick Rolovich will no longer be Washington State University's football coach after failing to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee's mandate requiring state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday.
Four other assistant coaches — Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber — have also been found "not in compliance" with the mandate, and the school has "initiated the separation process based on the terms of their respective contracts, effective immediately," according to a WSU press release provided to PEOPLE.
Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will serve as acting head coach.
"This is a disheartening day for our football program," Pat Chun, the athletics director at WSU, said in a statement. "Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the young men on our team."
"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," added Chun.
Rolovich, 42, first disclosed his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine in July, revealing in tweet that he will not be attending a Pac-12 media day due to his decision.
Earlier this month, his mentor and former University of Hawaii football coach June Jones told USA Today that the Rolovich had "filed a religious exemption" from the vaccine requirement.
When asked about Jones' comments during a news conference on Oct. 9, Rolovich said, "I'll confirm that," according to the outlet.
"Not terribly happy with the way it happened. I just hope there's no player that I coach has to wake up and feel the way I felt today," Rolovich said at the time, adding that he didn't believe it was "malicious, but that wasn't a great thing to wake up to, to be honest with you."
Monday was the deadline for state employees such as Rolovich to either get vaccinated or obtain an exemption in order to keep their jobs.
In a statement, WSU president Kirk Schulz said, "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."
"Experience is showing that vaccine mandates help motivate people to complete the vaccination process," WSU board of regents chair member Marty Dickinson added. "WSU leadership takes Governor Inslee's mandate policy seriously and we are committed to complying."
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