Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich has been fired for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the university announced Monday. Four assistant coaches were also fired for not being vaccinated.
Both the university and the state of Washington have implemented vaccine mandates. The deadline to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for state, health care and school employees in Washington was Monday.
"This is a disheartening day for our football program. Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the young men on our team," athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement, according to CBS Sports. "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 had previously said he would seek a religious exemption to the state's vaccine mandate, which he apparently was not granted.
"I don't think this is in my hands," Rolovich said Saturday when asked if he had received an exemption. "I've been settled for a long time on it, and I believe it's going to work out the right way."
Rolovich in July said he would not get vaccinated "for reasons which will remain private."
Governor Jay Inslee announced the state's vaccine mandate the following month, shortly after Washington State University had announced its own mandate.
Defensive tackles coach Ricky Logo, assistant head coach and cornerback coach John Richardson, co-offensive coordinate and quarterbacks coach Craig Stutzmann and offensive line coach Mark Weber were also fired, CBS Sports report.
Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will take over as the Cougars' interim coach.
After starting the season 1-3, Washington State managed to notch three straight wins for a 4-3 overall record and 3-2 conference record. The Cougars are scheduled to play BYU on Saturday.