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Washington State fires Rolovich as vaccine mandate takes effect

Chris Gardner / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Washington State terminated head coach Nick Rolovich's contract with cause Monday for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine before the state's deadline, the school announced.

Washington mandated that all state employees receive vaccination by Monday. Rolovich isn't vaccinated but applied for a religious exemption to continue coaching at the school.

Washington State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Craig Stutzmann, assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach John Richardson, offensive line coach Mark Weber, and defensive tackles coach Ricky Logo were also fired with cause for being unvaccinated.

"This is a disheartening day for our football program," Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement. "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 quarterback Jayden de Laura showed support to Rolovich on social media Monday, adding that Cougars players "strongly disagree" with the decision.

"Words cannot express our profound sadness and disappointment in the termination of our coach, Nick Rolovich," the signal-caller wrote. "Playing for him was a great honor that all of us will cherish forever. He put trust in me and allowed me to grow as a man both on and off the field. For that reason, we strongly disagree with today's decision. But we understand that Cougar Football has always been bigger than any one person. We are a band of brothers who play and sacrifice for each other, no matter who the head coach is."

Rolovich was the only unvaccinated head coach in the Pac-12. He worked his last Cougars game Saturday, helping the team beat Stanford 34-31. Washington State, winners of three straight, is 4-3 this season.

The 42-year-old, who was in the second season of a five-year contract, joined the Cougars in 2020 to replace Mike Leach after coaching Hawaii from 2016-19. He leaves Washington State with a 5-6 record.

Rolovich was Washington's highest-paid state employee, earning over $3 million annually.

The Cougars' first game without Rolovich is scheduled for Saturday against BYU. Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will replace Rolovich as the team's interim head coach.

Washington State fires Rolovich as vaccine mandate takes effect
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