Rival schools – the University of Washington and Washington State University – both lost their head football coaches within a 30-day span. On October 19, the WSU fired coach Nick Rolovich due to his vaccination status, and last week, UW fired coach Jimmy Lake.
Cougars lose head coach over statewide vaccination mandate
Last month, Washington State University, the rival school of UW, fired Nick Rolovich for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As his unvaccinated status violates Governor Inslee’s tenure for state employees, WSU had no choice but to let him go.
The WSU press release also stated that Rolovich’s four assistant coaches – Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber – had been sacked for the same reason.
In the press release, WSU sporting director Pat Chung said: “It’s a discouraging day for our football program. Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the young men on our team. “
“The leadership of our football team is filled with young men of character, selflessness and resilience and we are confident these same attributes will help guide this program as we move forward.”
WSU chairman Kirk Scholz also issued a statement, focusing his remarks on the tenure. “Although much has been said about the relatively small number of university staff who do not comply with the governor’s mandate, we are extremely pleased that nearly 90 percent of WSU employees and 97 percent of our students are now vaccinated, “he said.
“Students, faculty and staff at WSU understand the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing masks so that we can safely resume in-person learning and activities. I am proud of all of our community members who have led by example and taken action to protect not only themselves, but their fellow Cougs as well, ”concluded Scholz.
Rolovich noted his decision to decline vaccination earlier this year when he participated remotely in a Pac-12 conference that required in-person participants to be vaccinated.
Before the start of the conference, Rolovich tweeted the following statement:
I chose not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons that will remain private. Although I made my own decision, I respect the fact that each individual – including our coaches, staff and student-athletes – can make their own decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. I will not comment further on my decision.
Cougar defensive coordinator Jake Dickert has served as interim head coach since Rolovich left.
Rolovich appeals termination
Since November 4, Rolovich’s lawyers have appealed against his dismissal. Screenshot of the call were shared on Twitter by Chris Vannini of The Athletic.
Rolovich’s appeal claims the university’s HR recommended approving his religious exemption, but the sports department said it would not be able to accommodate it. pic.twitter.com/kUDITcNW5o
– Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) November 4, 2021
The appeal chronicles Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption in September, just after Governor Inslee announced the October 18 deadline for state employees to be vaccinated.
On October 6, according to the appeal, WSU Human Resources Services (HRS) determined that Rolovich was entitled to his exemption because he had expressed his “sincere religious belief.”
Subsequently, HRS prepared the COVID-19 precautionary measures Rolovich should take in place of vaccination and sent said recommendations to the sports department. However, the athletics department ultimately rejected the proposal and even challenged approval of Rolovich’s religious exemption.
The appeal chronicles the sports department’s argument against Rolovich’s exemption, based on the fact that “Rolovich had made several statements which cast doubt on his sincere religious belief.
The endorsement flip-flop leads to the appeals’ main assertion that “the University’s procedural detours are as disturbing as they are illegal.”
Click on here read Chris Vannini’s Twitter thread on this.
Sporting director sacks Husky head coach
Rolovich isn’t the only coach to be boxed this fall, as UW athletic director Jen Cohen sacked head football coach Jimmy Lake on November 13, before Lake could. complete its second season.
According to Cohen, the termination conversation was “professional.”
In 2019, Lake was Cohen’s first choice to replace Chris Petersen. “I trusted him so much that I really thought he was the best person for the job,” she said in a zoom talk the day after Lake’s layoff. “I’m just disappointed and really sad that it didn’t work out.”
During the lecture, Cohen was repeatedly assailed by the same question: Why did you fire him? Cohen never gave details, stating and repeating that “it wasn’t just one thing” and that she made the decision after a holistic assessment.
“These decisions are always difficult and in this case complicated,” she said. “It was a combination of things, and I came to the conclusion that I just didn’t have confidence in Coach Lake’s ability to lead the program in the future.”
Some, including a few who interviewed Cohen during the conference, believe Lake’s dismissal is related to a incident on the sidelines in their Nov. 6 game against the University of Oregon.
After a brief rift between the players, Lake pushed and slapped Huskies linebacker Ruperake Fuavai and was suspended immediately after.
Jimmy Lake puts Ruperake Fuavai in the helmet and pushes him to get it on with Jaylon Redd on the sidelines pic.twitter.com/7AdSuugGe3
– Ralph Amsden (@ralphamsden) November 7, 2021
Lake would later comment on the incident, saying, “I separated him. I didn’t hit him. I separated it.
NFL analyst and former professional quarterback Ryan D. Leaf spoke to King 5’s Steve Bunin about the incident. “There is no reason why I think he should have been suspended,” he said. “The reason he’s being suspended is because of the backlash from the fan base.”
Leaf concluded his remarks by predicting the suspension would mark Lake’s exit.
When asked if the suspension and termination were related, Cohen said, “The decision to terminate was a completely different decision based on a holistic review.”
Cohen has made it clear that the university will honor the terms of Lake’s contract, putting UW on the hook for around $ 9 million, according to the Associated Press. In Lake-led 13 games, the Huskies have gone 7-6.
While defensive coordinator Bob Gregory will serve as interim coach for the last two games of the season, Cohen said UW has already started looking for Lake’s replacement.