SPOCAIN, Washington. (NWN) – Washington State fired football coach Nick Rolovich on Monday for waiving the state’s directive to vaccinate all employees against COVID-19, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
This person spoke to NWN on condition of anonymity because the university had not made an announcement and no one had yet been authorized to speak publicly about the decision.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, set a Monday deadline for thousands of civil servants, including Coach Cougar, who must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or risk losing their jobs. Rolovich has applied for an exemption from religious affiliation.
Rolovich, 42, was the highest paid civil servant with an annual salary of over $ 3 million under a contract valid until 2025. He said he would not be vaccinated, but did not elaborate on the reasons. He was the only unvaccinated head coach in the Pac-12 and wore a mask during games.
Rolovich was hired from Hawaii two years ago after Mike Leach left for Mississippi and led Washington State to a 1-3 record in Pac-12 in the 2020 season, interrupted by the pandemic. Washington State have won their last three games and are 4-3 this season, including a 34-31 win over Stanford last Saturday.
In July, Rolovich announced that he would not be vaccinated and would not be able to attend a Pac-12 media event in person because of this.
In mid-August, he announced that he intends to follow a new order requiring every government employee to be vaccinated, but has repeatedly refused to say exactly how.
After a week of refusing to disclose his plans, Rolovich confirmed on October 9 that he was seeking religious release from his mandate, but declined to provide details of his religious beliefs.
Rolovich needed to prove that in his application for an exemption from vaccination, he sincerely believed that he could not get the vaccine. The application was submitted to the committee, which considered the requests without knowing the names of the applicants.
To continue training, Rolovich needed to be exempted from religious beliefs, and Washington State Athletic Director Pat Chun needed to determine that Rolovich could do his job while maintaining public safety. In addition to being a coach, Rolovich oversaw the youth football program and participated in promotional and fundraising events.
The vaccine problem spread throughout the season, dividing Washington state fans and a constant distraction.
During the season, the players stood up for their coach. Defender Jaden de Laura told a side reporter after Saturday’s victory: “Stop hating Rolo. We love him. “
Wide receiver Travel Harris praised Rolovich after the game for being the “player coach”.
“He’s the coach we all love to play for,” Harris said.
After defeating Stanford, Rolovich said that he would come to work on Sunday and go about his business as usual, and that he was waiting for an email with a final decision on his status.
NWN College Football writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.
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