Washington State interim head coach Jake Dickert said on Tuesday his immediate focus in his new role was to provide support and stability to players who were injured and shocked after Nick Rolovich’s dismissal. and other coaches for refusing to comply with the state’s immunization mandate.

He said he addressed the team during training to assure the players that he understood what they were going through and that he and the other remaining coaches were “with them”.

“My # 1 job today and in the future is that our young people have fear, doubt and uncertainty in their minds and my job is to replace that with faith, trust and belief,” said Dickert said at his introductory press conference. “I think these three words are the cornerstones of any program, of any real culture.

Dickert was elevated to interim coach to defensive coordinator on Monday after Rolovich and four of his assistants were fired for failing to comply with the governor’s mandate that all state employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Rolovich had requested a religious exemption which was denied on Monday, the state’s vaccination deadline. Assistant coaches Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber were also sacked.

Offensive coordinator Brian Smith, special teams coach Kyle Krantz, receivers coach Andre Allen, safety coach Mark Banker and line coach AJ Cooper are still on staff, in addition to Dickert.

Sporting director Pat Chun said Washington state will work to strengthen the staff after making the unusual decision to fire a head coach and so many assistants in the middle of a season.

Washington State (4-3, 3-2 Pac-12) is now preparing to host BYU on Saturday. Dicker said the biggest challenge, however, is helping players cope.

“I firmly believe that adversity is the best teacher in life and that’s what I preach to our guys and I think it will be another challenge for our guys to keep learning and growing,” he said. -he declares.

Dickert, 38, who was vaccinated earlier this year and shared the instant on social networks, is in his second season with the Cougars. He said he would continue to act as a defensive coordinator. He will also retain the running and shooting offense that Rolovich brought to the team.

“Our guys are confident in what we’re doing,” Dickert said. “The offensive philosophy will remain the same.”

Dickert has less than five years of coaching experience at the FBS level. Before arriving in Washington State, he spent three years in Wyoming. He has also worked in various lower division programs including FCS Power in the state of North Dakota.

He played football from 2002 to 2006 at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he won All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors as his senior wide receiver. He received his BA in Secondary Mathematics from Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2007 and completed his MA in General Education in 2009.

Dickert thanked Rolovich at the press conference for giving him the opportunity to train in Washington state. He said he had a brief conversation with Rolovich after the shooting.

“I think the coach wants our guys to move on,” Dickert said. “It was the brief conversation we had.”

Meanwhile, some players have continued to express their support for Rolovich.

Laura’s quarterback Jayden released a statement through his lawyer saying he disagreed with the decision to fire Rolovich.

“Words cannot express our deep sadness and disappointment at the dismissal of our coach,” the statement said. “Playing for him has been a great honor that we will all cherish forever.

“But we also understand that Cougar football has always been bigger than any person,” said de Laura. “We are a bunch of brothers who play and sacrifice for each other no matter who the head coach is.”

De Laura urged fans to support the Cougars in Saturday’s game.

Cornerback Jaylen Watson shared an image on Instagram of his embrace with Rolovich following the team’s 34-31 victory over Stanford on Saturday. The photo was accompanied by a red heart emoji split in half.

“This man has changed my life in so many ways,” Watson later tweeted. “A real standing guy … and a real role model for me and my teammates.”

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