College Football

Nick Rolovich to Sue Washington State Over Recent Firing

Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich intends to sue the university for wrongful termination

Oct 16, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich celebrates after a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. The Cougars won 34-31. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich plans to sue the school of “unjust and unlawful” termination practices, an attorney representing Rolovich said in a statement to reporters Wednesday.

Rolovich was recently fired, along with four other Washington State assistant coaches, after refusing to comply with a mandate that required all state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Brian Fahling, Rolovich’s attorney, accused Washington State Athletic Director Pat Chun of “discriminatory and vindictive behavior” by denying Rolovich’s religious exemption.

Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption waiver was based on his “devout” Catholic faith.

Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee’s vaccination deadline on Monday for employees could only be circumvented if you received an exemption and accommodations from direct supervisors. 

"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's statement reads.

"Chun's discriminatory and vindictive behavior has caused immeasurable harm to coach Rolovich and his family."

According to a WSU spokesperson, every employee evaluation will be blind so the people reviewing the exemption application will not know who they are reviewing it for. Each exemption application is also reviewed by at least two people.

Fahling said in his statement Wednesday that "Chun had already determined that Coach Rolovich would be fired" dating back to as early as April 2021.

“It is a tragic and damning in 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.

The attorney did not specify what damages Rolovich and his family will be seeking from the lawsuit. 

Rolovich, who is the state's highest-paid employee, had three years and approximately $9 million remaining on his contract. 

He was fired for cause which leaves Washington State free of the responsibility of paying the 42-year-old coach any of the money that was included on that contract.

Rolovich reportedly is owed $3.6 million if fired without cause.