Former Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich has filed a lawsuit against WSU. 

Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich plans to take legal action against the university for what his lawyer termed an “unjust and unlawful” termination, according to a news release distributed Wednesday by the lawyer.

Rolovich was fired for cause two days earlier after failing to comply with a state COVID-19 vaccination mandate that required state employees to be either vaccinated or receive an exemption by Monday. Rolovich applied for a religious exemption, which was denied.

“The institution also indicated that even if the exemption had been granted, no accommodation would have been made,” Rolovich’s lawyer, Brian Fahling, wrote in the release. “As a result, Coach Rolovich will be taking legal action against Washington State University, and all parties responsible for his illegal termination.”

After Rolovich was fired, Fahling claims, athletic director Pat Chun directed campus police to escort the second-year coach to his car and did not allow him to speak to the Cougar team, or enter his office.

The release doesn’t specify what damages Rolovich will be seeking.

WSU did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

“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 said in the statement. “Chun’s discriminatory and (vindictive) behavior has caused immeasurable harm to Coach Rolovich and his family.”

The release confirms that Rolovich is Catholic. Pope Francis has endorsed COVID-19 vaccines, with the church calling them “morally acceptable.”

“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.

Without offering specifics, Fahling claims Chun had determined he would fire Rolovich “since at least early April.”

The release claims the university’s “deceitfulness about being unable to accommodate Coach Rolovich even if his religious exemption had been granted” is exemplified by Chun’s arranging of a “‘secret’ donor trip” that he had Rolovich attend at the height of the pandemic in July 2020, during which “Chun and other attendees” allegedly contracted the virus, while Rolovich did not.

Rolovich is currently facing a lawsuit from former receiver Kassidy Woods, who alleges that his rights were violated last year when he was kicked off the team for joining the WeAreUnited player movement and complaining about potential COVID-19 exposure.

Along with Rolovich, four Cougar assistants – Craig Stutzmann (co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Mark Weber (offensive line), Ricky Logo (defensive tackles) and John Richardson (cornerbacks) – were also fired Monday.

WSU president Kirk Schulz said Monday that less than 50 school employees out of about 10,000 systemwide were terminated for making a similar choice to those of Rolovich and his assistants.

Of the 63,000 Washington state workers who were subject to Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate, 1,887 have left their jobs or have been terminated following Monday’s deadline, according to the Office of Financial Management. Of the state workers still employed, more than 92% are verified as vaccinated.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson tweeted Monday: “Our office remains undefeated in 42 legal challenges to these orders.”

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