Head football coach fired for refusing COVID vaccine

The head coach for the Washington State University football team was fired after he decided not to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

The university president expressed regret over Nick Rolovich's actions.

Washington State University, a public university, has fired their head football coach for not complying with the state’s vaccine mandate. 

The incident makes Nick Rolovich the first head coach to face dismissal from his job over refusal to take the shot. Four assistant coaches also lost their jobs over the mandate, NBC News reports.

As the football coach of a public university, Rolovich was the highest paid state employee in Washington making more than $3 million per year, as WREG Memphis reports. 

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The state carved out religious and medical exemptions from the vaccine. Rolovich did seek out a religious exemption from the vaccine, however the exemption was denied, according to the article.

Athletic Director Pat Chun voiced frustration at Rolovich’s decision and seemingly implied that hiring him was a mistake.

”I take full ownership and responsibility for hiring Nick,” Newsweek reports Chun saying in a press conference following Rolovich’s dismissal. “To be at this juncture today is unacceptable on so many levels.”

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Washington State University President Kirk Schulz was aware of Rolovich’s vaccine hesitancy, but according to the Washington Post, hoped that “there would be a change of heart” from the head coach. 

Rolovich had refused to answer whether he would take the shot during the annual Pac-12 Media Days this summer, rather claiming that his decision would “remain private.”