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News >  Higher education

Washington State athletics raises $3.5 million following the firing of Nick Rolovich

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 22, 2021

This artist's rendering shows what Washington State University officials envision as a new indoor training facility on the Pullman Campus.  (WSU)
This artist's rendering shows what Washington State University officials envision as a new indoor training facility on the Pullman Campus. (WSU)

The Washington State University athletics has received $3.5 million in donations in the last week following the firing of former football coach Nick Rolovich over the state COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The donations will go toward the new indoor practice facility, which has now surpassed its fundraising goals.

A “transformational gift” to the Cougar Athletic Fund came from alumnus Darren Alger and his wife, Jamie, according to a news release. Spokesperson Bill Simpson wrote in an email he could not disclose how much the Alger donation was.

The $25 million training facility will be a permanent structure for student-athletes to train in year-round, featuring synthetic turf, improved lighting and raised ceilings.

The donations come after a monthslong saga involving Rolovich, who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, despite a state mandate that required all educators and coaches at higher education institutions to be fully vaccinated. Rolovich submitted a religious exemption, which was denied, and was fired late Monday. Rolovich said he intends to file a lawsuit against the university.

Darren Alger said in a statement the gift was to acknowledge the effect the university has had on his life. After graduating in 1993, he went on to serve as the president and chief executive officer of Unify Consulting.

“Jamie and I know the future of WSU Athletics is as bright as ever,” he said. “Both current and future student-athletes deserve our support, and we want to ensure they have the resources needed to accomplish all of their goals.”

Athletics director Pat Chun said the donation puts the university in a position to formally begin the approval process of the project.

“We are indebted to Darren and Jamie for their extraordinary generosity,” he said.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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