Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich plans to sue the school over his termination for defying a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and is calling out athletic director Pat Chun for ‘discriminatory and vindictive behavior.’
WSU fired Rolovich and four of his assistant coaches Monday, which was the deadline for all state employees to comply with Governor Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate. Because Chun fired Rolovich ‘for cause,’ the school voided the remainder of his $3million-a-year contract that runs through 2025.
Rolovich had applied for, and was denied, a religious exemption based on his ‘devout’ Catholic faith, according to a statement provided to DailyMail.com by his attorney, Brian Fahling. The school has not publicly confirmed that information.
New Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich, center, is introduced by Washington State Athletic Director Pat Chun, left, and Washington State President Kirk Schulz during a press conference on Thursday, January 26, 2020 in Pullman, Washington. On Wednesday, Rolovich accused Chun of ‘discriminatory and vindictive behavior’
WSU judged exemption requests with a two-person panel using a blind evaluation process that omitted applicants’ names and job titles, according to the school.
According to Fahling, though, Chun planned to fire Rolovich as early as April — four months before the vaccine mandate took effect.
‘Chun’s animus towards Coach Rolovich’s sincerely held religious beliefs, and Chun’s dishonesty at the expense of Coach Rolovich during the past year, is damning and will be thoroughly detailed in litigation,’ Fahling wrote in his statement.
‘Chun’s discriminatory and vindictive behavior has caused immeasurable harm to Coach Rolovich and his family.’
Crowd Management Staff security employees Myrladis Lopez, front right, and Jacqueline Barajas, top right, check for proof of COVID-19 vaccination of Vince Johnson, left, and his wife Marci Johnson before they were allowed to enter Martin Stadium before an NCAA college football game between Washington State and Oregon State on October 9
Crowd Management Staff security employee Myrladis Lopez, left, checks for proof of COVID-19 vaccination of women’s basketball team director of player personnel and program analytics Deb Patterson before being allowed to enter Martin Stadium
A former quarterback who played in the World Football League, Rolovich had a three-year stint as Hawaii’s head coach before signing with WSU in 2020. His total record with the Cougars was 5-6
School spokespeople did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Fahling also claimed to know that, even if Rolovich’s exemption request been accepted, he still would have been fired.
‘The institution also indicated that even if the exemption had been granted, no accommodation would have been made,’ Fahling wrote.
Rolovich was not given a chance to address his team before his firing, and was quickly escorted off the premises by police, according to Fahling.
‘Immediately after terminating Coach Rolovich, WSU Athletic Director, Pat Chun, directed campus police to escort the coach to his car, he wasn’t allowed into his office, and he was not even allowed to speak to his team,’ Fahling wrote.
A former quarterback who played in the World Football League and the Arena Football League, Rolovich had a three-year stint as Hawaii’s head coach before signing with WSU in 2020.
His total record with the Cougars was 5-6.
Nick Rolovich had applied for, and was denied, a religious exemption based on his ‘devout’ Catholic faith, according to a statement provided to DailyMail.com by his attorney, Brian Fahling. The school has not publicly confirmed that information