Who is Nick Rolovich? Washington State coach fired for refusing to take COVID-19 vaccine

Washington State vs. Utah - Nick Rolovich
Washington State vs. Utah - Nick Rolovich

Nick Rolovich just became the most famous name around the football world to be involved in a vaccine-related topic. The consequences were way more serious this time.

Rolovich was fired from his job as the Washington State University's head coach after he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The state of Washington issued a mandate demanding most of its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with a October 18 deadline, including school employees and health care workers. Rolovich refused to do so, thus becoming officially ineligible to work for the Washington State football team.

He was terminated for cause, which means he's not going to receive anything from his buyout clause.

Even if #WSU’s Nick Rolovich receives an exemption, there are still some major hurdles here. Naturally, he has a very “public-facing” job as a head football coach.…

Who is Nick Rolovich? Former WSU coach fired for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine

Nick Rolovich became one of college football's darlings during his days as the Hawaii head coach. A former quarterback who could never make it into the NFL, Rolovich quickly ascended as one of college football's bright offensive minds after he became Hawaii's offensive coordinator, later taking the same job at the University of Nevada.

Rolovich continued to ascend in the coaching ranks, returning to the University of Hawaii to work as the head coach. From 2016 to 2019, he won two bowl games, led the university to a conference championship and also had 10 wins in his last year as head coach, earning him Mountain West Coach of the Year honors.

Hawaii vs. Washington - Nick Rolovich
Hawaii vs. Washington - Nick Rolovich

Rolovich signed up as the new Washington State head coach after Mike Leach left the job to become head coach at Mississippi State University. What seemed to be a bright future between the coach and the college is now over after he decided not to take the vaccine.

Rolovich's religious exemption didn't work out

The coach decided not to take the vaccine. As per the state mandate, employees could've applied for a medical or religious exemption, and Rolovich did it. It's unclear at this time if his exemption was declined or not, but Washington State decided to start the separation process.

Nick Rolovich giving up a $3 million salary and one of the most coveted jobs in his profession so that he can put himself and people around him at heightened risk of dying. Really one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen. All-time bag fumble, medical fumble, reputation fumble

Washington State University's Athletic Director Pat Chun released a statement about Rolovich's firing:

“This is a disheartening day for our football program," said Chun. "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.”

Rolovich leaves the school with a 5-6 overall record and he'll now become known as the coach who decided to leave a salary of more than $3 million rather than taking the vaccine. Not the ideal situation, definitely.

Edited by Henno van Deventer
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