UPDATED 9:13 p.m. ET: In a release Tuesday evening, Washington State confirmed that Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich has taken the same job with the Cougars.
“We set a goal of bringing the best coach possible to Washington State University,” said athletic director Pat Chun in a statement. “Nick Rolovich is a genuine person, a program builder, an innovator and the exact fit to lead Cougar Football. Coach Rolovich is committed to academic achievement and developing every aspect of our student-athletes. He has a vision of taking Cougar Football on a path to win championships. We are fortunate to have Nick lead our program and we welcome his wife Analea, along with their daughter Alana and sons Daniel, William and Patrick to the Cougar Family.”
“I’d like to thank President Schulz and Pat for the opportunity and the trust they have put in me to lead these young men,” said Rolovich. “Not only on the football field, but we truly believe we are raising tomorrow’s husbands, fathers and community leaders. The excitement is real and it’s honest. Most recently what Coach Leach has built gives us a high starting point. I appreciate him as a friend and what he has done to build the program.
“We are looking forward to learning more about the program, the history, the anecdotes and the legends of WSU football. One of the more attractive things was the community, how it matches a lot of the values we try to live by and I’m excited to raise my family in Pullman. We can’t wait to get up there and get started.”
(The original post appears below.)
When it comes to the Washington State football program, it appears the Cougars will shift from the Air Raid to the Run-and-Shoot.
After eight seasons, Mike Leach left as the Washington State football head coach on Jan. 9 to take over at Mississippi State. Five days later, it’s being reported that Nick Rolovich of Hawaii will be hired to take over for Leach.
Rolovich is expected to receive a five-year contract from WSU that averages $3 million annually. Leach made $3.75 million for the 2019 season. Rolovich? $600,000 at Hawaii.
Leach’s salary was ninth amongst Pac-12 head coaches. Rolovich’s was ninth in the Mountain West Conference.
An official announcement from Washington State is expected at some point Tuesday.
BREAKING Hawaii’s Nick Rolovich is expected to become the new head coach at #WAZZU, per sources.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 14, 2020
While Wazzu has yet to confirm the hiring, Hawaii has confirmed the departure.
Statement from Athletics Director David Matlin. pic.twitter.com/xfwJXp2XWt
— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) January 14, 2020
The 40-year-old Rolovich just completed his fourth season as the Rainbow Warriors’ head coach. In finishing 10-5 this past season, Hawaii reached double-digit wins for the first time since 2010. They also played in their first-ever Mountain West Conference championship game.
Overall, Rolovich went 28-27 at his alma mater.
There is, though, an ugly incident in which Rolovich allegedly physically assaulted a newspaper photographer in November that Washington State will no doubt be forced to address if the hiring comes to fruition.