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Nick Rolovich will reportedly sue Washington State over firing

Cougars coach was fired on Monday ahead of the Washington State-BYU game

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Washington State coach Nick Rolovich coaches against Stanford, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

Washington State coach Nick Rolovich watches during the first half of the team’s football game against Stanford, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. Rolovich was fired on Oct. 18.

Young Kwak, Associated Press

Less than two full days after Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich was fired for not complying with a state COVID-19 vaccine mandate, multiple outlets reported Wednesday morning that he plans on suing the university.

Attorney Brian Fahling wrote in a press release that Rolovich will take “legal action” against Washington State, as well as “all parties responsible for his illegal termination.”

The press release says the firing was “unjust and unlawful” and Fahling was critical of what he called WSU athletic director Pat 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.”

The Athletic’s Chris Vannini reported that Fahling claims Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption for the vaccine was denied (Washington state agencies were authorized to fire employees even if an exemption was granted but accommodations in the workplace could not be granted).

Under Washington’s mandate, public employees had until Monday to get vaccinated or risk loss of employment. Four of Rolovich’s assistant coaches were also fired for not complying with the mandate.

Rolovich is Catholic.

Vannini also reported that, according to the press release, WSU campus police escorted Rolovich out, and that he wasn’t allowed into his office or to speak to his team after his dismissal was formalized.

Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reported that the press release does not state what damages Rolovich will be seeking but that he had approximately $9 million remaining on his contract.

“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,” the release said, according to Thamel.

Although Pope Francis and other Catholic leaders support and encourage COVID-19 vaccination, some members of the faith group object to the use of fetal cells in vaccine research.

Washington State is 4-3 this season and plays BYU at home on Saturday. Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Jake Dickert has been elevated to the role of acting head coach.

Contributing: Kelsey Dallas