Former football coach Nick Rolovich planning to sue WSU over termination

PULLMAN, Wash. — Former head football coach Nick Rolovich is planning to file a lawsuit against Washington State University over his termination.

Rolovich was fired on Monday for failing to meet the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. In July, he said he was choosing to not get vaccinated, but repeatedly maintained he would follow the state guidance. 

READ: WSU head coach Nick Rolovich fired for failing to meet vaccine requirement

In recent weeks, he filed a religious exemption, but it was denied. 

Rolovich’s lawyer Brain Fahling issued the following statement Wednesday:

“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.” 

Fahling says Athletic Director Pat Chun had campus police escort Rolovich off campus after his termination. He also says Rolovich was not allowed into his office and was not allowed to speak to the team. 

“Since at least early April, it became clear that Chun had already determined that Coach Rolovich would be fired,” Fahling alleges. “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 described Chun’s alleged behavior as “discriminatory and vindicative [sic].” 

A release about the impending legal action also states the university and Chun arranged a “secret” donor trip in July 2020. Fahling says Chun and other attendees contracted COVID-19, but Rolovich did not. 

“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 said. 

That said, Pope Francis and many church leaders have encouraged Catholics to get vaccinated.

Rolovich was not the only coach terminated on Monday; several assistant coaches were also fired for failing to meet the state’s requirement. 

Fahling has declined to do an interview with 4 News Now and it is not clear when the lawsuit will be filed. 

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READ: ‘It is disheartening’: WSU leaders speaks about termination of coach Nick Rolovich