Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich and four of his assistants were fired Monday for refusing the mandate. Rolovich – who had cited his religious beliefs as the reason he wasn't going to take the injection – was fired for cause, which means the university does not have to honor the rest of his contract. The Seattle Times reports today that Rolovich is planning to take his dismissal to court, alleging his firing was illegal – and accusing the university's athletic director of "discriminatory and vindictive" behavior.
Attorney Brian Fahling, who is representing Rolovich, said in a statement: "It is a tragic and damning commentary on our culture and more specifically on [Athletic Director Pat] Chun that Coach Rolovich has been derided, demonized and ultimately fired from his job merely for being devout in his Catholic faith."
The attorney's statement also says Chun's "animus" toward the coach's sincerely held religious beliefs will be "thoroughly detailed" in litigation.
Dan Wolken, a columnist for USA Today, wrote that he had no sympathy for Rolovich and that "skipping the vaccine was his call." But Twila Brase, RN and president/co-founder of Citizens' Council for Health Freedom, sees things differently.
"I think the coach and his assistants are all heroes when it comes to making sure that at the end of the day we have a country of people who are free," Brase tells AFN, adding that personal sacrifice was involved.
"… They know that there's a sacrifice, but they have made a decision of freedom over coercion," she argues. "I am pleased that they have not only stepped up but stood up and went all the way as far as they could go to try and comply, but then still refused to bow to the mandate."
According to The Associated Press, the 42-year-old Rolovich was the highest-paid state employee with an annual salary of more than $3 million in a contract that runs through 2025. He was the only unvaccinated head coach in the Pac-12 and had worn a mask during games.
The four assistants fired were Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann, and Mark Weber.