Washington State promoting interim coach Jake Dickert to head coach

Washington State isn’t going to conduct an external coaching search.

The Cougars are promoting interim head coach Jake Dickert to the permanent role, the school confirmed late Saturday.

"We are thrilled to have Jake Dickert step into the head coaching role," said WSU president Kirk Schulz. "We've been able to witness the positive impact he has had on our student-athletes in a very short of period of time. We are thankful the best person to lead our program was already living in Pullman."

Dickert started the season as the team’s defensive coordinator and was named the interim coach after Nick Rolovich was fired during the season for not complying with the state of Washington’s vaccine mandate.

Rolovich was fired midseason after Washington announced a vaccine mandate for all state employees over the summer. Rolovich, a Catholic, applied for a religious exemption to the mandate. His application was denied and he's currently threatening legal action against the school for his dismissal.

Washington State turned its season around after a 1-2 start that included losses to Utah State and USC. The team won three consecutive games before Rolovich was fired and then went 3-2 with Dickert in charge. Those final five games included a 40-13 win over Washington on Friday in the Apple Cup rivalry game.

Dickert, 38, came to Washington State when Rolovich was hired ahead of the 2020 season to replace Mike Leach. He was a defensive assistant at Wyoming for three seasons before moving to the Pac-12 and was the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator in 2019. Before arriving at Wyoming, Dickert coached at the FCS and Division II levels.

Washington State has allowed 24 points per game in 2021 after it gave up nearly 40 points per game in a shortened four-game season in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The Apple Cup win pushed Washington State's record to 7-5 and the Cougars were an Oregon State win away from the Pac-12 title game on Saturday. But Oregon beat the Beavers to clinch the North division and keep Washington State from a rematch with Utah in the Pac-12 title game.