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Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich and four assistant coaches were fired Monday after refusing to receive state-mandated COVID-19 vaccinations, the school announced.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee had set a Monday deadline for thousands of state employees, including the Cougars' coaching staff, to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or risk losing their positions.

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WSU assistant coaches Ricky Logo, Craig Stutzmann, John Richardson and Mark Weber also are out, according to the university, after failing to comply with the mandate that was issued in August.

"This is a disheartening day for our football program," Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement. "Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the young men on our team.

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"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."

Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert was elevated to interim head coach for the Cougars. His first game at the helm of Washington State will be Saturday at home against BYU.

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The 42-year-old Rolovich applied for a religious exemption to bypass the vaccination requirement, but it remains unclear how the university committee assigned to evaluate those exemptions ruled.

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Rolovich was the highest-paid state employee with a contract that had an annual salary of more than $3 million. He was the only unvaccinated head coach in the Pac-12 Conference and had worn masks during interviews, practices and games.

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