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Former Washington State coach files wrongful termination claim

Mountain West Championship - Hawaii v Boise State

BOISE, ID - DECEMBER 7: Head Coach Nick Rolovich of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors watches a replay during second half action in the Mountain West Championship against the Boise State Broncos on December 7, 2019 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 31-10. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)

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PULLMAN, Wash. -- Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich has filed a claim against the university seeking $25 million for wrongful termination after he was fired last year for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The claim was filed on Rolovich’s behalf with the state’s Office of Risk Management on April 27, the Seattle Times reported.

Such a claim is a prerequisite for filing a lawsuit against a state agency, said Brionna Aho, spokesperson for state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. A person must wait 60 days to sue after a tort claim is filed.

Aho said no suit had been filed as of Wednesday.

Rolovich’s attorney, Brian Fahling of Kenmore, did not return a telephone message left at his office Wednesday. He has previously indicated Rolovich would take legal action, claiming religious discrimination.

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

He was fired in October after he had coached just 11 games with the Cougars over two seasons, going 5-6. Assistant coach Jake Dickert was temporarily elevated to interim head coach and then was named Rolovich’s replacement after leading the Cougars to the Sun Bowl.

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

At the time of his firing, Rolovich was working under a five-year contract, on which three seasons remained. He was paid $3.2 million per year, the highest public salary in the state.