Former Washington state coach Nick Rolovich will take legal action against the university for unlawful firing, in part due to the “discriminatory and vindictive behavior” of athletic director Pat Chun, his attorney said Wednesday.
Washington state fired Rolovich and four assistant coaches on Monday after they failed to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s mandate that required all state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Rolovich was the highest paid employee in the state at $ 3.2 million per year.
Rolovich, 42, had submitted a religious exemption request to the mandate that all employees in the state be vaccinated by Oct. 19, but his request, reviewed anonymously, was denied.
Chun said Monday that Rolovich’s firing is due to separation, which means the university does not plan to pay him.
“It is a tragic and damning comment on our culture and more specifically on Chun that Coach Rolovich has been ridiculed, demonized and ultimately fired from his job simply for being devout in his Catholic faith,” said Brian Fahling, who represents Rolovich, in a statement. Statement obtained by ESPN and Yahoo.
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“… Since at least the beginning of April, it was clear that Chun had already determined that coach Rolovich would be fired,” the statement said. “Chun’s animosity towards Coach Rolovich’s sincere religious beliefs and Chun’s dishonesty at Coach Rolovich’s expense over the past year is damning and will be fully detailed in the litigation. Chun’s discriminatory and vindictive behavior has caused immeasurable harm to coach Rolovich and his family. “
It is not known what restitution Rolovich would seek against the state of Washington. Yahoo Sports reported that Rolovich had three years left and approximately $ 9 million remaining on his contract.