Another coach is out as institutions around the country tighten their grip on the unvaccinated. 

On Monday, Billy Ray Stutzmann — assistant football coach at the Naval Academy — said he has been fired for refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shot. 

“The Naval Academy Athletic Association policy regarding COVID-19 requires all coaches and staff to be vaccinated against this virus,” Stutzmann wrote in a lengthy social media post. “Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow the requirements of the Naval Academy’s Covid-19 policy, as it has changed these last few months. After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy. I continue to stand firm in my conviction of faith, but I understand and respect that each individual and institution has a choice on how they wish to manage these issues.” 

Stutzmann was in his third season of coaching the Midshipmen. Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said his departure was a big loss for the program. 

“He’s added a lot to our program,” Niumatalolo said. “Wish him the best of luck, he and his wife Shanelle. Wonderful young man. Got a bright, bright future in this profession.”

As the COVID-19 vaccine has polarized the country, universities — and their athletic programs — have seen a major push for everyone to be fully vaccinated. 

Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich came out with a statement in July saying he would not receive the vaccine, forcing him to participate in Pac-12 Media Days remotely. 

After the state of Washington announced a mandate in August requiring employees working in K-12 up to higher education to be vaccinated, Rolovich said he would follow the mandate, though he did not specifically say he would receive the vaccine. The mandate does allow for religious and medical exceptions. 

His refusal to openly say whether he has taken the shot has caused many in the media to question whether Rolovich should remain the head coach of the Washington State football team. 

On Monday, Rolovich was grilled by a reporter on his refusal to say whether or not he’s vaccinated. 

“Yeah, I’m not going to talk about that Chris. I understand what you guys are trying to get to,” Rolovich said when asked whether he had scheduled his COVID shot. 

 

The reporter went on to continue asking Rolovich why he has refused to say whether he has received the vaccine or is applying for a religious or medical exemption, citing that people are “upset” with his lack of transparency.  

All employees working in school facilities will have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

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