Former WSU football coach Nick Rolovich sues WSU, governor over firing

COLFAX, Wash – More than a year after he was fired from Washington State University for refusing to comply with the state’s covid vaccine mandate, former football coach Nick Rolovich has filed a lawsuit against the university.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in Whitman County Superior Court, Rolovich also names Governor Jay Inslee and Washington State Athletic Director Pat Chun.

Rolovich claims his federal rights were violated, causing him “significant and ongoing damages.”

PAST COVERAGE: WSU head coach Nick Rolovich fired for failing to meet vaccine requirement

In the lawsuit obtained by 4 News Now, Rolovich’s attorney writes that Rolovich “refused to be vaccinated because of his religious and personal beliefs.”

While the university says not following a state mandate gave them just cause to fire Rolovich, he claims a liquidation cause in his contract required the university to pay 60% of the $2,000,000 base salary for the remaining three and a half years of his contract.

Rolovich also says he didn’t sign an amendment to his contract requiring him to follow health directives or university policies related to health and safety.

The former coach says Pat Chun “made a number of statements to [him] that demonstrated hostility toward Mr. Rolovich’s expressed religious, personal and scientific reasons for refusing a COVID vaccine.”

Rolovich claims Chun told him, even before Gov. Inslee put the mandate in place, that his religious exemption would be denied and he would be fired if he didn’t comply.

He also claims that Chun told him he put the vaccine mandate in place just to come after Rolovich.

The lawsuit also debates the merits of the vaccine itself.

Rolovich claims WSU committed a breach of contract, discriminated against his religious beliefs and wrongfully withheld his wages.

He also claims the university violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free speech and due process, respectively.

Rolovich has not been rehired as a coach since his termination.

WSU responded to Rolovich’s lawsuit on Monday with the following statement:

Mr. Rolovich’s lawsuit against Washington State University is wholly without merit.

Washington State University carried out the Governor’s COVID-19 vaccination proclamation for state employees in a fair and lawful manner, including in its evaluation of employee requests for medical or religious exemptions and accommodations. For multiple reasons, Mr. Rolovich did not qualify, and the university firmly stands by that decision.

Washington State University will vigorously defend itself against Mr. Rolovich’s claims.

The lawsuit says he currently lives in northern California.