Former UH coach Nick Rolovich seeks damages over WSU firing

Former University of Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich has filed a claim against Washington State University, seeking $25 million for wrongful termination. (Dennis Oda/Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

Former Washington State and Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich, fired last year by WSU because he refused the COVID-19 vaccine, has filed a claim against the Pullman, Wash., university seeking $25 million for wrongful termination.

Rolovich was denied a religious exemption from Gov. Jay Inslee’s mandate requiring state employees to get the vaccine.


The university fired Rolovich “for cause” in October 2021 after he had coached just 11 games with the Cougars.

Rolovich’s attorney, Brian Fahling of Kenmore, Wash., indicated at the time that Rolovich would take legal action, claiming religious discrimination. Rolovich is Catholic.

A $25 million tort claim was filed on Rolovich’s behalf with the state’s Office of Risk Management on April 27. A tort claim is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against a state agency, said Brionna Aho, spokesperson for the Office of Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

After a tort claim is filed, there is a 60-day period before a claimant can file a lawsuit. As of Tuesday, Rolovich has not filed a lawsuit against the university, Aho said.

Fahling has not returned messages seeking comment.

Fahling filed a 34-page letter to the university appealing Rolovich’s firing in November. That appeal was denied.

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