Washington State's Nick Rolovich out as head coach after failing to meet COVID vaccine mandate

Rolovich, Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stuzmann and Mark Weber were not in compliance with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation on state employees getting the vaccine, and the sides began the “separation process” based on the terms of their contracts.

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Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich celebrates after a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 34-31.

Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich celebrates after a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 34-31. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)

“This is a disheartening day for our football program. 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,” Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said in a news release.

Washington State President Kirk Schulz added: “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. WSU students, faculty, and staff understand the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing masks so that we can safely return to in-person learning and activities.”

“I am proud of all those members of our community who have set the example and taken the steps to protect not just themselves, but their fellow Cougs.”

Inslee’s proclamation prohibited “any State Agency from permitting any Worker to engage in work for the agency after October 18, 2021, if the Worker has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provided proof thereof to the agency.”

Rolovich was forced to skip attending Pac-12 Media Day in-person earlier this year because participants needed to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. He said in July he would “wholeheartedly support” members of his program to be vaccinated.

June Jones, a former coach at Hawaii and Rolovich’s mentor, told USA Today earlier this month Rolovich was still unvaccinated and risked losing his job if he didn’t get the vaccine by Oct. 18, which Inslee implemented back in August. Rolovich had applied for a religious exemption.

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Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich looks on during warm up ups before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium.

Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich looks on during warm up ups before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)

Jones added he was unsure whether Rolovich would end up getting the shot or why he refused.

Rolovich was the highest-paid state employee, earning more than $ 3 million annually, Q13 FOX noted.

Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich looks on during warms before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium.

Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich looks on during warms before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)

Washington State defensive coordinator Jake Dickert was expected to take over as the interim head coach.

Rolovich was the head coach at Hawaii for four years before taking over at Washington State in 2020. He was 28-27 at Hawaii and 5-6 at Washington State. The Cougars didn’t make a bowl game last season in his first year.

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