Washington State fired football coach Nick Rolovich and four assistants on Monday after they refused to comply with a state mandate that all state employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee had set a deadline of Monday for thousands of state employees, including the Cougar’s coaching staff, to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or risk losing their jobs.
“The noncompliance with this requirement renders ineligible to be employed at Washington State University and therefore can no longer fulfill the duties as a head coach of our football program effective immediately,” Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said during a Monday night news conference. “It is disheartening to be here today. Our football team is hurting. Our WSU community is fractured. Today will have a lasting impact on the young men on our team and the remaining coaches and staff.”
Also fired were assistant coaches Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber after they did not comply with Inslee’s proclamation that was issued in August. Chun said there might be no precedent for a team losing its head coach and so many assistants in the middle of a season.
Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert has been elevated to interim head coach. His first game as the team’s head coach will be Saturday at home against BYU.
Rolovich was the highest-paid state employee, with an annual salary of more than $3 million in a contract that runs through 2025. He had said he wouldn’t get vaccinated but has declined to provide clarity when asked repeatedly for weeks to expand upon the reasoning for his refusal.