Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich celebrates after a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 34-31.

Former Washington State football coach sues after being fired over COVID-19 vaccine mandate: report

Nick Rolovich was fired for cause as head coach of the Washington State Cougars in October 2021 for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Friday, Rolovich filed a complaint against Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the university and WSU athletic director Pat Chun seeking damages, according to ESPN.

Washington State coach Nick Rolovich looks on during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford on October 16, 2021 in Pullman, Washington. The former Washington State football coach filed a lawsuit against the university on April 27, 2022, seeking $25 million for wrongful termination after he was fired last year for refusing to take a vaccine against the disease. COVID-19.
(AP Photo/Young Kwak, File)

The complaint “contains eight counts, including breach of contract, discrimination against religion, wrongful withholding of wages, and violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the First and 14th Amendments,” according to ESPN.

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Rolovich, who is Catholic, was denied his religious exemption and was fired by Chun – along with four other coaches on his team – last October.

Washington State required all state employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exception.

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“Washington State University has executed the Governor’s COVID-19 Vaccination Proclamation for State Employees in a fair and legal manner, including in its assessment of requests for medical exemptions and accommodations or religious employees,” Washington State said.

Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich celebrates after a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field in Martin Stadium.  The Cougars won 34-31.

Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich celebrates after a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field in Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 34-31.
(James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)

“For multiple reasons, Mr. Rolovich was ineligible, and the university stands firmly by that determination. Washington State University will vigorously defend itself against Mr. Rolovich’s claims.”

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The suit comes next Rolovich filed a tort claim against the university in August seeking $25 million for wrongful termination, which is a necessary step to bring a lawsuit against a state agency.

October 16, 2021;  Pullman, Washington, USA;  Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich looks on during warm-ups before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field in Martin Stadium.

October 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich looks on during warm-ups before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field in Martin Stadium.
(James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)

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Rolovich was the Cougars head coach for just 11 games before he was fired, going 5-6 in 2020-21.

He was working under a five-year contract with three years remaining and was reportedly paid $3.2 million a year.

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