HONOLULU (KHON2) — Former UH football coach Nick Rolovich is out of a job at Washington State University for failing to comply with the state’s vaccine mandate. He had applied for a religious exemption which was denied. Monday, Oct. 18, was the deadline for all state employees to comply with the mandate.
Rolovich was in his second year as head coach of the Washington State Cougars, and was the highest paid state employee with an annual salary of about $3 million. The decision of whether he would be able to keep his job was highly anticipated because he’s the only coach for a major university who is not vaccinated.
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“It makes it difficult to realize you may lose out on the opportunity to do something you love because you aren’t taking a vaccination. It’s just heartbreaking to hear that,” said RJ Hollis, Bows Football Final analyst.
“I believe in personal choice,” said Rich Miano, Bows Football Final analyst. “I also believe what’s best for the team is best for everybody. What was best for everybody is for Coach Rolovich to be their head coach moving forward.”
Rolovich played quarterback for UH and then came back as head football coach. He was hailed for turning the program around, leading the team to its first 10 win season, and playing for its first ever Mountain West Conference championship. But he then left for greener pastures and a considerable pay raise coaching for a Pac-12 team.
Miano and Hollis call it a sad situation all around, with a team that has players from Hawaii, wondering what will happen to the program.
“All those young people have grown to love this man,” said Miano. “A lot of them signed between the dotted line to be coached by Nick Rolovich. He had tremendous success here at the state of Hawaii. And now he’s no longer the coach at Washington State and that was a dream come true.”
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“At the end of the day, I’ve played for Rolo and I speak highly of him just like the players that now speak highly of him,” said Hollis. “So you know, there’s support within that locker room for their coach. So I do feel sad for them that they have to find a way to press on without him.”