BY SPNW Staff 05:48PM 01/19/2016

Huskies tap Cohen as interim athletic director

As the University of Washington searches for a full-time athletic director, Jennifer Cohen, a 15-year UW employee, will oversee Husky athletics, beginning Feb. 1.

Jennifer Cohen has been appointed interim athletic director. / University of Washington

The University of Washington Tuesday named Jennifer Cohen, most recently a senior associate athletic director, as interim athletic director, replacing Scott Woodward, who announced earlier this month that he was relocating to Texas A&M as its athletic director. Cohen’s appointment, according to President Ana Mari Cauce, will become effective Feb. 1.

“With her years of experience as a senior administrator in our athletic department, Jen will provide excellent leadership as we undertake a national search for a new athletic director,” said Cauce in a statement. “She understands the needs of the department very well and has a bird’s-eye view of the challenges it faces, particularly at this time of escalating costs and finite revenues. Her work in managing major fundraising projects will serve her very well in this regard. We’re fortunate to have her able to step right into this role.”

Cohen, who has worked at UW for 15 years, currently oversees the athletic department’s development efforts. The football and baseball programs also report directly to her. A native of Tacoma, she joined the athletic department staff in 1998 as an assistant director of development before moving to the university’s central development office to focus on fundraising efforts on behalf of the office of undergraduate education.

She also spent time with the regional gifts program before returning to athletics to oversee the department’s major gifts program.

Cohen spearheaded the “Drive for Husky Stadium” campaign, in which the department raised more than $50 million in gifts for the renovation, which was completed in August 2013. Cohen has also led development efforts for other projects, including the renovation of Hec Edmundson Pavilion and Conibear Shellhouse, the construction of the Dempsey Indoor practice facility, the Husky Legends Center, Husky Golf Center and various scholarship endowments.

A 1991 graduate of San Diego State University, Cohen earned her master’s degree in physical education, with an emphasis in sports administration, from Pacific Lutheran University in 1994. Her professional experience includes a variety of roles in intercollegiate athletics administration at Pacific Lutheran, the University of Puget Sound and Texas Tech University.


  • 1coolguy

    As long as it’s “interim”. The UW needs an AD that is plugged in and has been the lead on national searches for coaches, including their vetting and hiring, and has been successful doing it. I’m sure Cohen has performed very well, other wise Woodward would not have kept her on, yet the UW is NOT the place to hire a person who has not filled the shoes successfully elsewhere.

    • art thiel

      Head-hunter companies are contracted to do the coaching search, and a committee pares the list to 10 to 5 to 2, and the AD flips a coin.

  • bugzapper

    Another fund-raising bean-counter. Meh.

    • RadioGuy

      I noticed that. Almost everything in her background is in “development” (i.e., “sales”). I guess that’s all that’s required in Montlake. Romar is safe as long as the P/L ledger for men’s basketball is in the black. Wins? Losses? They’re incidental.

      • art thiel

        Big-time college sports is like Boeing, Microsoft, Apple . . . all about marketing, branding, fundraising,”customer experience.” It’s been awhile since an AD measured the hoops to make sure they were 10 feet.