Just a few hours after one of Nick Rolovich’s close colleagues in the coaching world was fired for not receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, the second-year Washington State coach still did not clarify at a weekly news conference how he plans to move forward with 36 days until Gov. Jay Inslee’s Oct. 18 deadline.
Billy Ray Stutzmann, an assistant coach at Navy who worked as an offensive intern at Hawaii under Rolovich and who is the younger brother of WSU co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Craig Stuzmann, announced on Twitter he was fired by the Midshipmen after refusing to get the vaccine and failing to make a case for a legitimate religious exemption.
Since late July when Rolovich announced he wouldn’t be receiving a COVID-19 vaccine citing “reasons which will remain private,” the WSU coach has refused to reveal how he’d comply with Inslee’s mandate for state employees, and maintained a similar stance Monday.
“No, I still plan on, like what I said, following the mandate and doing what I need to do to be the coach here,” Rolovich said. “That’s all we can say about that.”
If Rolovich planned to receive the Moderna vaccine, he would’ve needed to start the process by Sept. 6. The deadline for Pfizer was Monday and Oct. 4 for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. Under the mandate, Rolovich is also able to apply for a religious or medical exemption.
In a two-minute exchange with Chris Daniels of KING 5 News in Seattle on Monday’s Zoom conference call, Rolovich took seven other questions about his vaccine status – the most he’d received since announcing his decision not to receive a COVID-19 shot in a July 21 tweet .
Below is a full transcript of the exchange:
“I wanted to follow up with vaccine mandates now in place for students, state employees and fans. I know you said you plan on following the mandate, but have you received your shot or have you scheduled your shot?”
Rolovich: “Yeah, I’m not going to talk about that Chris. I understand what you guys are trying to get to – ”
“Are you seeking a religious or medical exemption?”
Rolovich: “I’m not going to talk about that either, Chris.”
“What’s been your hesitation with talking about it or being more forthcoming?”
Rolovich: “I don’t know that it’s all that positive to get deep into it with the media the way it’s going, so I’m just going to try to keep that to myself and concentrate on being the coach here.”
“But I think you can understand you’re the highest-paid state employee and there are fans, teachers and students that are upset about your stance on this and your lack of insight about why you haven’t said you’ve received the shot or not. How do you answer those people that are upset about your stance on this?”
Rolovich: “Uh, I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say here.”
“Well, there are people who’ve said you should be suspended or terminated by WSU over your lack of a statement on this, over whether you’re going to get a shot or not.”
“There are people that are upset and would like some clarity from the highest-paid employee in the state about whether you’re going to get the shot or not.”
Rolovich: “Okay. I understand that.”
“So again, will you get your shot or have you scheduled your shot?”
Rolovich: “I’m not going to answer that, Chris, and we’re going to move forward with USC at this point.”
According to Cougfan.com, as of Sept. 3 Rolovich had not informed WSU President Kirk Schulz or Athletic Director Pat Chun whether he plans to get vaccinated or file for a religious exemption.