Recently fired Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich plans on suing the university for illegal termination, according to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN. 

On Monday, Rolovich and four of his unvaccinated assistants were fired for cause by the university for not adhering to a Washington state mandate that requires state employees to either be vaccinated against COVID or have an approved exemption. 

Rolovich had applied for a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine. He was denied it. 

In a letter obtained by Rittenberg, Brian Fahling — an attorney representing Rolovich — said that the termination was “unjust and unlawful.”

The termination of Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich on Monday was unjust and unlawful.

It came after Coach Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption from the vaccine was denied by the university. The institution also indicated that even if the exemption had been granted, no accommodation would have been made.

As a result, Coach Rolovich will be taking legal action against Washington State University, and all parties responsible for his illegal termination. 


Rolovich’s future as head coach of the Cougars had been a major topic of conversation for some time before his termination on Monday. In July, Rolovich announced that he would not be receiving the shot, thus forcing him to attend Pac-12 Media Days remotely. 

Following the Washington state vaccine mandate in August, Rolovich said that he would follow the mandate, though he did not specifically say he would receive the vaccine. It was not until recently that it was reported that Rolovich was in fact seeking a religious exemption.

“This is a disheartening day for our football program,” WSU athletic director Pat Chun said on Monday. “Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the young men on our team. 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.”

Chun was specifically mentioned in the letter, accusing Chun of having “animus towards Coach Rolovich’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”

“Since at least early April, it became clear that Chun had already determined that Coach Rolovich would be fired. 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. Chun’s discriminatory and vindictive behavior have caused immeasurable harm to Coach Rolovich and his family.”

Rolovich never stated the reasoning behind the religious exemption application, though Rolovich is a devout Catholic. 

“It is a tragic and damning commentary on our culture, and more specifically, on Chun, that Coach Rolovich has been derided, demonized and ultimately fired from his job, merely for being devout in his Catholic faith,” Fahling’s statement reads.

Rolovich had three years remaining on his contract that paid him $3 million per year. 

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