BY SPNW Staff 02:59PM 05/24/2016

Huskies name Jennifer Cohen athletics director

After serving as the University of Washington’s interim athletic director for the past four months, Jennifer Cohen officially replaced former AD Scott Woodward Tuesday.

Jennifer Cohen is the new University of Washington athletic director. / University of Washington

After a national search, the University of Washington stayed in-house, naming Jennifer Cohen Tuesday as the school’s new athletic director, replacing Scott Woodward, who abruptly departed four months ago for the same job at Texas A&M. Cohen served as interim athletic director since, and will officially assume her new duties June 1.

“I am very pleased to announce Jen’s appointment,” said UW president Ana Mari Cauce. “She has all the skills and energy to provide exceptional leadership for Husky athletics. Her years of experience leading our fundraising program, along with her direct involvement overseeing football, provide a strong foundation for assuming overall leadership for the department.

“This is the right time for her, and I look forward to a very exciting time for our students, coaches and fans of Husky athletics.”

A senior associate athletic director before taking over for Woodward, Cohen worked at Washington for 18 years. For much of that time, she oversaw the athletic department’s fundraising efforts. In recent years, the football and baseball programs also reported directly to her.

A native of Tacoma, Cohen joined the athletic department in 1998 as an assistant director of development before moving to the university’s central development office to focus on fundraising for 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.

“I am humbled, honored, and extremely thankful for this opportunity,” said Cohen. “The University of Washington has been part of my life for nearly two decades, and I believe our department is poised to accomplish great things.

“Together, we will work to positively impact our student-athletes, inspire a championship culture, and build and unite our community. I believe there is no better place to achieve these things than at Washington, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Cohen led the Drive for Husky Stadium campaign, in which the department raised more than $50 million in gifts for the renovation of the 1920s-era building, which was completed in August 2013. Cohen also led development for a number of other initiatives, including the renovation of Hec Edmundson Pavilion and the 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, 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. She and her husband, Bill, are the parents of two sons, Tyson and Dylan.



  • jafabian

    A bit surprising but Cohen has a solid list of accomplishments and evidently UW is comfortable with her. Being a native Washingtonian may have played a role since previous AD Scott Woodward and both school presidents Mark Emmert and Michael Young have bolted UW recently. Never heard of anyone else interviewing. Curious.

    • art thiel

      Emmert went to Fife High School. Woodward was mostly successful, and he had no connections to the state before Emmert brought him from LSU.

      Again, geography is not nothing, but it isn’t much.

      • jafabian

        It’s true that Emmert went Fife HS but his resume looks like Larry Brown’s: every 4-5 years he changes jobs and locale. Woodward, like Cohen, was an inside hire so I was a bit surprised UW let history repeat but as you said her strength is raising funds and that’s needed because it’s not like the Pac-12 is helping with their TV deals.

  • Jeff Shope

    4 months of BS to pick the next Barbara Hedges ?

    • jafabian

      Why do you compare Cohen to Barbara?

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    • 1coolguy

      Actually Hedges had USC cred before she came to UW, but then punted and kept Lambright as head coach. She was punked by Ricky, who took UW to its last Rose Bowl and top 5 ranking.
      Cohen is a Romar lover so that should have disqualified her.

      • art thiel

        Cohen’s expertise is in fundraising. Fans’ expertise is in coach firings.

        • Jeff Shope

          fans are sick of try hard and participation ribbons win or shut up. That’s all there is.

    • art thiel

      Good to know you are plugged in.

  • 1coolguy

    Too bad – she’s a Romar supporter. Now we are saddled with him indefinitely.
    Don’t REVENUES mean anything to the UW??? The UW has lost many, many millions in lost ticket revenue and lost TV revenue due to this DII coach.
    Big mistake not choosing an AD from another program. Clearly an opportunity missed.

    • art thiel

      The revs from a season of full houses would hardly make a difference in a $100M budget. But no P12 school outside of Tucson gets full houses.

      Regarding insider/outsider, there’s no pattern for success/failure. It’s the person, not just the geography on the resume.