The Navy fired assistant coach Billy Ray Stutzmann after the coach failed to abide by the Naval Academy Athletic Association's policy concerning COVID-19 vaccination.
The new policy requires all coaches and staff to get their shot against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Stutzmann had a religious exemption denied, which would have allowed him to stay unvaccinated.
The Pentagon announced in August that the COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory for members of the United States military.
On Monday, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo announced Billy Ray Stutzmann had left the coaching staff for "personal reasons."
According to a report by The Capital Gazette, Stutzmann was absent during the Navy's football team training camp. At the time, the academy spokesperson, Scott Strasemeier, said Stutzmann was "working remotely on projects for the coaching staff."
On his Twitter account, Stutzmann said:
"Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow the requirements of the Naval Academy's COVID-19 policy, as it has changed these last few months. After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy. I continue to stand firm in my conviction of faith, but I understand and respect that each individual and institution has a choice on how they wish to manage these issues. I wish Navy football nothing by the best in the future."
The now-former assistant coach clearly does not hold a grudge against his former boss, HC Niumatalolo:
"I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to coach at the United States Naval Academy for the past two seasons under head coach Ken Niumatalolo, where I have learned from one of the best in the business. Coach Niumatalolo and his wife Barbara have made my family's time in Annapolis very special and we are forever grateful."
Who is Billy Ray Stutzmann?
Stutzmann's most significant accomplishment so far is being a former Marcus Mariota teammate. He and the Las Vegas Raiders QB played together at Saint Louis High School, a Hawaiian high school powerhouse.
After high school, Stutzmann played as a wide receiver for the University of Hawaii from 2009 to 2013, where he managed 148 catches, 1,845 yards, and nine touchdowns.
In 2014, Stutzmann got his first opportunity as a coach at Division II school, Western New Mexico. The following year, he went to coach Emory & Henry.
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After Emory & Henry, the Navy hired Stutzmann. He spent three years with the team.