Skip to main content

Report: Washington State Head Coach, Assistants Fired After Vaccine Refusal

Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich and other assistants were shown the door.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

On Monday, Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich and other unvaccinated assistants were dismissed from the program following their refusal to get the COVID vaccine, as they were terminated for cause. The state of Washington established a public employee deadline to be vaccinated by the end of day on Oct. 18. 

The first report came from John Canzano.

Rolovich, who was the Pac-12's sole unvaccinated head coach, recently applied for a religious exemption but was ultimately denied. The Cougars, unbeaten in their last three games, are 4-3 and host BYU this Saturday. 

They'll now play without their head coach and other portions of the coaching staff. USA Today reported four other assistant coaches were also shown the door.

Rolovich was the state's highest-paid employee with a salary over $3 million per year, and now becomes the highest profile head coach in college football to lose his job over refusal to take a COVID vaccine. Gov. Jay Inslee put the mandate in place in August for all state employees to receive vaccinations. 

Multiple journalists have also confirmed reports of a "mandatory meeting" set to take place Monday night at 8:30 pm EST with players to discuss the next course of action for the team. 

Washington State president Kirk Schulz offered this to say earlier in the year:

"The major elephant in the room, the thing that’s gotten the Seattle Times all excited is the one individual who is in a very prominent position that up until this date has not been vaccinated and has not talked to the media much about where that is," Schulz said. 

"I just remind everybody, regardless of what the person makes, what position they have, we have to treat people the same. And there’s a lot of, ‘Well you oughta terminate somebody.’ Well, am I willing to terminate a faculty member for the same decision, am I willing to terminate a staff member for the same decision? So aside from the emotions of that we’ve had to work really hard to not say a lot and I understand the angst that’s out there over Coach Rolovich’s decision, and at the same time I’ve tried to remind everybody the community has done a fantastic job of vaccination."

Following their meeting with BYU, the Cougars travel to Tempe to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday, Oct. 30.

At this time, there have been no official plans for who will take over as interim head coach, although ESPN's Kyle Bonagura reports Jake Dickert, WSU defensive coordinator, will assume those duties.

AllSunDevils will update this story as more information becomes available.