Rollin’ in Rolovich

VASILI VARLAMOS, Evergreen reporter

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A new era of Cougar football is set to begin as WSU hired former University of Hawai’i coach Nick Rolovich Monday night.

Rolovich replaces Mike Leach, who left WSU Thursday for a head coaching job at Mississippi State.

The former coach for Hawai’i agreed in principle to a five-year contract, worth an average of $3 million a year with WSU, according to the WSU Athletics website. Rolovich made $600,000 last season with Hawai’i, which was the ninth-highest salary among coaches in the Mountain West Conference.

He was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year in 2019. He turned the Rainbow Warriors football program around, going from a 3-9 record in 2017 to winning 10 games for the first time since 2010.

Rolovich is known for his high-octane offense that he produced at Hawai’i. His run-and-shoot offense lead his team in the Mountain West Conference in total yards, average yards per game and touchdowns.

He is responsible for coaching redshirt junior quarterback Cole McDonald, who was eight in the nation for passing touchdowns.

The new head coach became the 33rd coach in WSU football history. He has yet to name any of his assistant coaches or other staff members. This is Rolovich’s first power five head coaching job in his career.

There will be a press conference to introduce Rolovich as the head coach at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Rankich Club Room at Martin Stadium, according to the WSU Athletics website.