Washington State football needs leader
September 23, 2021
WSU football needs a true leader and it's not Nick Rolovich.
I am a Washington State Cougar, Class of 2012 (Go Cougs!). I went to WSU in Pullman from 2008 to 2012 and earned my bachelor's degree in communications, and I attended many football games at Martin Stadium during my time in college.
My first WSU football game was in 2008. It was the first year for new head coach Paul Wulff. My friends Kevin and Craig and I got there early and had pretty good seats for the opener against California. The Cougars kicked off to Cal to start the game, and Jahvid Best ran for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the game in a 66-3 Golden Bear victory.
That year, the Cougars were 1-10 and played 0-11 Washington in the Apple Cup. The Cougars won 16-13 in double overtime, and the students, including myself, stormed the field, because, well, what other chance did we have? My mom called me while I was on the field because she was in town to pick me up for Thanksgiving break.
"I'm on the field, I'll be there in 30 minutes," I told my mother who was not happy with that response.
Fast forward 13 years to now, and the Cougars appear to be in another bad spot as a football program. WSU started the season with a loss to Utah State, in which the Cougars had a lead in the fourth quarter only to see it disappear in classic "Coug'd it" fashion.
After a bounce back win against Portland State, WSU had a 14-0 lead against USC, only to watch that lead collapse as the Trojans scored the next 45 points en route to a win with a freshman quarterback coming off the bench, five days after firing their head coach.
I know this is only Rolovich's second season, but this collapse is nothing new in Rolovich's short tenure as head coach. He's had four losses with double-digit leads, including last year against Oregon and Utah before Utah State and USC this season.
Mike Leach was quite the character and said some odd things at news conferences and in interviews, but he did something that Rolovich hasn't done much of since he's been the head coach: win football games. Leach may have been an interesting guy, but when it came to football, he won a lot of games, which is why he's now in the SEC at Mississippi State.
Off the football field, he's been a nightmare. In July, Rolovich said he's not getting vaccinated, but he falls within the jurisdiction of the state's vaccination requirement. He has said he'll comply with the state mandate, but hasn't clarified how.
As one of the highest paid state employees, he has not made the situation easy for the school to deal with.
Rolovich also has a lawsuit filed against him and WSU from former wide receiver Kassidy Woods, alleging his civil rights were violated when he was kicked off the football team after complaining about potential exposure to COVID-19 and for joining an association of Black student-athletes, according to the story by The Associated Press.
I will always wear crimson and gray proudly, but it is a lot harder when the coach of the most public sports program of the school not only doesn't display leadership off the field but can't lead his team to a victory on the field.
Many of my fellow Cougars have said this and I agree with them after seeing Rolovich's short time as head coach. I know it takes time to build a program, but with his on and off field problems, it's time to end Rolovich's tenure as head coach of the football team.
I hear Clay Helton is available.