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Nick Rolovich Out As Washington State Coach for Refusing COVID-19 Vaccine

Washington State coach Nick Rolovich has been fired with cause after not meeting the state's deadline to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the school announced Monday. Rolovich had applied for a religious exemption to not get vaccinated before Monday's deadline.

John Canzano of The Oregonian was first to report Rolovich's firing.

Rolovich and all other unvaccinated Washington State assistants have been terminated for cause. Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jake Dickert is reportedly expected take over as interim head coach, per ESPN's Kyle Bonagura.

“Due to the requirements set forth in Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.1, Nick Rolovich is no longer able to fulfill the duties as the football head coach at Washington State University," the school's statement read, per Bonagura. "In addition, four football assistant coaches, Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber, are also not in compliance with the Proclamation. As a result, Washington State University has initiated the separation process based on the terms of their respective contracts, effective immediately.”

WSU athletic director Pat Chun did not confirm the decision regarding any religious exemptions, but told reporters the coaches could not be accommodated in a way to continue to do their jobs effectively.

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Chun also said that he does not believe Rolovich spoke to the players after Chun and Rolovich met on Monday, according to Brenna Greene of KREM2.

Chun reportedly planned to meet with players from the football team to break the news, per The Seattle Times's Scott Hanson. Jason Puckett, a Seattle talk show host for local radio station 950 KJR, also confirmed that there is a mandatory meeting at 8:30 p.m. ET with players. 

Rolovich initially refused the COVID-19 vaccine and was forced to skip SEC Media Day due to the vaccine policy in place back in July. Then in August he walked back on his stance and said he'd follow the state-wide mandate. But he never received the vaccine.

Washington governor Jay Inslee announced the state mandate back in August while COVID-19 cases were soaring due to the delta variant. State employees had until this Monday to get vaccinated or face termination barring medical or religious exemptions and there was no testing option. To date, Rolovich is the highest-profile coach to lose his job because of his refusal to become vaccinated. 

Rolovich, 42, went 5–6 since taking over the Cougars in 2020 and is now out of the job after less than two seasons. Washington State is 4–3 this year and will host BYU Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. 

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