PULLMAN, Wash. — Like many great stories in America, it all started with pizza.
"I heard about the pizza deal. I said, 'Let’s see if some other people in town who are struggling can get a little relief with a free pizza,'" said Nick Rolovich on Tuesday.
WSU's head football coach once again lit up Twitter a few nights go when he went to a pizza place in Pullman and ordered 20 pizzas for the first 20 people through the door. He is quite literally putting his money where is mouth is.
"We hear stories like, 'We would’ve had lay people off in a couple of days,' Rolovich said of his experiences of visiting Pullman's restaurants the past few nights. "It’s like, 'Alright, it’s not that hard to go help, boys and girls.'"
Tuesday marked his fourth night of simultaneously helping businesses and people in Pullman. You just have to know the code word.
"Mongoose, I think it’s a cool little animal. It just popped in my head," said Rolovich of the first code word he used. "Perico is parrot in Espanol, so the owner of Nuevo Vallarta, she picked that code word. Last night at Tan’s, there was some kind of honeycomb chicken on the specials board, so I just picked honeycomb."
Rolovich said this time in the world is all about random acts of kindness, and him and his staff are just trying to give back.
"I think it multiplies very quickly if people are grateful for the stuff they do have and how they can help other people. It can be creative," he said.
In particular, he wants to give back to the people of Pullman. Rolo’s time on the Palouse hasn’t been long, but it hasn’t taken him long to realize he’s found a home.
"I’m having a ton of fun because I didn’t realize this place was wired so much like me until I got here," he said. "I’m sure there’s some fan bases that have similar passion in terms of the levels, but the goodness involved in the passion from the people around here and the family values that are treasured as part of Coug nation is the part I had no idea about. Then people like to do good things for people and have a good time. This has turned out to be an even better place than I thought for me personally and how I do things."
Rolovich began coaching full time in 2008. Since then, he’s never experienced a spring without football. He’s acutely aware that right now he’s doing exactly what he needs to be doing.
"I don’t think this is a time where football should open their mouth too much as far as, 'Poor me.' Zero part of me feels bad for not doing football in this situation."