Jake Dickert has been named the full-time coach at Washington State after serving as the interim coach for the final five games of the season, the school announced on Saturday. Dickert took over the Cougars after former coach Nick Rolovich was fired on Oct. 20 for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine as mandated for state employees in Washington. Dickert has agreed to a five-year deal and a formal press conference will be held next week.
"I am extremely humbled and honored to be the next head coach at Washington State University," said Dickert. "I want to thank President [Kirk] Schulz, [athletic director] Pat Chun and [deputy athletic director] Bryan Blair for their leadership and trust in me and my vision for the future of WSU football. Pullman fits our family so well and we are so excited to be a part of this community for a long time to come. Go Cougs."
The Cougars went 3-2 under Dickert's watch, including an emphatic 40-13 win over rival Washington on Friday night in the Apple Cup. Prior to that, Washington State throttled Arizona 44-18 in the final home game of the season.
"We are thrilled to have Jake Dickert step into the head coaching role," said Schulz. "Coach Dickert was able to bring together a team that has been through so much in the past two seasons and inspire them to not only keep going, but to fight harder. Coach Dickert loves Pullman, understands what it means to be a Coug, and most importantly, puts his players first. He is an asset to this program, and to WSU."
Dickert, 38, played wide receiver at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and spent the majority of his coaching career at the FCS level before joining the Wyoming staff as safeties coach in 2017. He remained with the Cowboys until he arrived as the defensive coordinator at Washington State in 2020.
Elevating Dickert into the full-time role is a great move for a Washington State program that, after all that it has gone through over the last two years, craves some semblance of stability. Things were working on the Palouse under Dickert's watch and with the coaches who refused the vaccine removed from the staff, Dickert can still keep the rest of the staff in place if it's best for the program.
The Cougars will have quarterback Jayden de Laura back next season after the Honolulu native threw for 2,742 yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 11 games. He threw for 234 or more yards in all five of the games Dickert served as the head coach, including eight of his touchdowns and only three of his interceptions.
They'll lose a ton of production defensively, provided those who are expected to move on do so, but the younger guys have been working in this system for two years. By promoting Dickert to full-time coach, it will be far less challenging for the youngsters to step into more prominent roles than it would be with a new staff.
Washington State owns state bragging rights because of what Dickert did to rival Washington on Friday night in Seattle. Why mess with success? If Dickert and the stability he brings means more dominance over the Huskies -- who are going to undergoing a coaching change of their own -- it's a big step toward consistently contending for the Pac-12 North title.