Trojans Take Washington AD Jennifer Cohen

USC hires Washington’s Jennifer Cohen as its new athletic director

Various new sources  —  USC has hired Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen to be its AD. Cohen, 54, a native of Arcadia who attended San Diego State, will be the first female athletic director in USC history (Barbara Hedges was a senior assoc AD at USC from ’89-’91) and its 10th AD ever.

Cohen has spent the last 24 years at Washington, before becoming athletic director in 2016. Overall, Washington won 17 Pac-12 titles under her leadership.

She started in development at Washington, and emerged over the years as a prolific fundraiser, eventually overseeing the department’s major gifts program. She raised $50 million for the renovation of Husky Stadium, which was completed in August 2013.

Cohen negotiated the school’s 10-year, $190 million apparel contract with adidas in 2019 and steered the Huskies to join USC and UCLA in the Big Ten starting in the fall of 2024. Washington will make about half a share of the conference’s media rights distribution, while the Trojans and Bruins will make full shares from the start.

On the field, the Huskies made the College Football Playoff semifinals in 2016, seven months after Cohen was hired, won two conference titles and ended a 17-year Rose Bowl drought.

Cohen was not the athletic director when Washington hired Chris Petersen in football, but she did play a major role in that search. She traveled with then-athletic director Scott Woodward to Boise, Idaho, to meet with Petersen and worked closely with him throughout his successful run.

When Petersen stepped down in 2019, she promoted Jimmy Lake to the head position with a recommendation from Petersen, but the coveted defensive coordinator’s tenure as head coach lasted less than two seasons as he was fired midseason in 2021 after he was suspended for shoving one of his players during a game. Cohen then hired former Fresno State coach Kalen DeBoer, who went 11-2 in his first season in Seattle.

The Huskies were the last Pac-12 team to make the playoff semifinals. In March, Cohen was named to the CFP selection committee for a three-year term, which would be a major selling point for USC given program aspirations to have a voice in the room.

Cohen has often championed the need for further diversity in college sports administration, serving for years as the only female athletic director in the Pac-12. The hiring marks a notable shift away from the end of Mike Bohn’s tenure, which ended suddenly and unexpectedly with his resignation after a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed allegations of improper workplace conduct towards female colleagues.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel was the first to report the hire. Cohen will begin her duties as USC’s latest AD on campus tomorrow.

Cohen will be tasked with shouldering massive expectations for the football program in Lincoln Riley’s second season, which begins in just a few days with Saturday’s clash against San Jose State, and with furthering the work of an interim leadership team to lead the university into the Big Ten era in 2024.

USC has deep resources, fertile recruiting geography, football momentum and loads of history. It’s well positioned to matter in this new-world of college athletics. The Trojans will be scary-good under Cohen’s command.

Cohen was born in Southern California, but grew up in Tacoma. In the fifth grade, she wrote a letter to UW’s football coach. Cohen told Don James she wanted to succeed him and become the first female football coach in college history. James wrote back and encouraged her to get involved in athletic-department administration.

“One candidate stood above the rest,” Carol Folt said.

“I told Dr. Folt that there was only one school I’d ever leave UW for, and that was USC,” Cohen said. “So I’ve kept my eye on USC for a long time.”

________

TrojanDailyBlog members  —  We always encourage you to add information, insight, divergent opinions, or new topics to the TDB which don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post or member comment.

 

 

SUBSCRIBE HERE TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF NEW COMMENTS OR REPLIES.
Notify of
46 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chris
Major Genius
Chris
Offline
August 23, 2023 7:52 am

i watched the post practice interviews on YouTube yesterday. Everyone is saying the right things and toeing the line. All players referred to Riley for scheme and depth chart info. You can tell they have an “all in” attitude. I’m excited to see this get started. Also, Mason Cobb is exactly what we needed.

RialtoTrojan
Noble Genius
RialtoTrojan
Offline
August 23, 2023 8:17 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I admit that I wear ketchup and mustard rose colored glasses, but I think Reggie has a chance to win. There is ample evidence of selective enforcement and bias against Reggie and USC. The McNair case proved that NCAA manufactured “evidence.”
The only thing the NCAA has is Reggie’s parents taking help from a family friend and Reggie driving his girlfriend’s car. Reggie’s attitude towards the NCAA didn’t help, but you can’t punish someone for their attitude.
My only question is why had he waited so long?

Golden Trojan
Noble Genius
August 23, 2023 9:19 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

The McNair ruling may now make Reggie’s case winnable. He doesn’t need the cash. If the NCAA settles quickly with an apology and reinstate his Heisman I would think he would be happy. Of course that sets another domino, does USC get its championship and wins back?

TrojanRon
Genius Member
TrojanRon
Offline
August 23, 2023 1:32 am

I wish Jen Cohen a successful career at USC. Hopefully, she can add stability and respectability. All accounts I’ve seen have been very positive on her. Fight On!

RialtoTrojan
Noble Genius
RialtoTrojan
Offline
August 22, 2023 9:51 am

Next question Ms. Cohen, how far are you willing to go in order to have Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy reinstated?
(too early?)

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
August 22, 2023 7:51 am

JuJu Lewis commits to USC.

alfa1
Genius Member
alfa1
Offline
August 22, 2023 8:31 am
Reply to  Steveg

This young man looks like the next coming of Caleb Williams, footwork, elusiveness, strong arm, question is can keep him committed ?
Kirby Smart will be all over him.

https://www.hudl.com/video/3/16619589/6359cbcc386d9c0c1c32a9e5

ATL D.D.S.
Noble Genius
ATL D.D.S.
Offline
August 22, 2023 8:55 am
Reply to  alfa1

Carrollton is a great high school football program. Consistent winners. Watched them play several times against my Marist School War Eagles in late round playoff games. And they are the Trojans!

ATL D.D.S.
Noble Genius
ATL D.D.S.
Offline
August 22, 2023 1:55 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

This caliber of player is way out of reach for GSU and Coach gomer. Georgia Southern is no-longer 1-AA (FCS ?) as they were when my son played them as a member of the Furman Paladins. GSU moved up to 1-A (FBS) in 2014 or 2015, but they certainly have not set the world on fire with the big boys….

I do not, of course, see the trend changing for the Eagles with The Cat running things in Statesboro. Permanent Statesboro Blues as long as uncle clay is around.

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
August 22, 2023 4:24 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen it may take a very successful 2023 to get us totally past the Cat and his ghost. Most all of his players will be gone, USC will be ranked at a completely different’t level and the program is filled with confidence and hope. Looking back sure isn’t much fun.

volunteerTrojan
Noble Genius
August 21, 2023 9:57 pm

Insightful article on the planning ahead for the B1G move. Love the benchmarking going on. Shows the serious commitment to winning rather than just piggybacking their media package to a bigger payday.

https://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/2023/08/21/checklist-whats-on-usc-a-d-jennifer-cohens-plate-with-big-ten-planning/

volunteerTrojan
Noble Genius
August 21, 2023 7:19 pm

I watched her entire segment. She came across to me as genuine, hard-working, a bit humbled yet cognitive at the magnitude of the opportunity, and gracious to those around her who have contributed to her success.

I haven’t read anything negative about her from other “unbiased” news sources, so I will start out giving her the benefit of the doubt. I congratulate her and wish her wild success at USC.

Fight On!

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Offline
August 21, 2023 5:39 pm

Know some USC fans liking that LR just said this >>>>> “The depth we need to make a CHAMPIONSHIP RUN ” ….. Fight On !!!!!

ATL D.D.S.
Noble Genius
ATL D.D.S.
Offline
August 21, 2023 5:21 pm

You just knew it was going to be a woke chick. Just as long as foltie and blondie stay the hell out of Riley’s way.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
Offline
August 21, 2023 5:56 pm
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

Did you listen to the press conference?

ATL D.D.S.
Noble Genius
ATL D.D.S.
Offline
August 22, 2023 8:17 am
Reply to  Chris

Sorry, Chris, but just call me a Neanderthal and move on. I think Athletic Directors should be male. I dislike hard-left college presidents.

We can talk after 2-3 years about this matter. I think Bohn was railroaded.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
Offline
August 22, 2023 12:37 pm
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

ATL,
she had a great on answer to being the first woman AD at USC. She went straight to merit. I’m all about that answer. Hire the best candidate, I don’t care about demographics. I hope she has this approach when hiring coaches.

USC1988
Noble Genius
USC1988
Offline
August 22, 2023 6:14 pm
Reply to  Chris

Let’s see if she gets bullied by the Big 10 pricks

USC1988
Noble Genius
USC1988
Offline
August 23, 2023 6:38 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Hope so … Big 10 will do SC no favors despite them bringing the conference billion $

PN4SC
Genius Member
PN4SC
Offline
August 22, 2023 11:42 am
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

That was my first thought too. But John Canzano, Brock Huard and Geoff Schwartz ( ex Duck, now on Sirius radio) say this was a home run hire. Impressive reference list. Hope they are right.

ATL D.D.S.
Noble Genius
ATL D.D.S.
Offline
August 22, 2023 1:57 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

If you remove the right side of that photograph, maybe we can talk. 😆

redondob
redondob
Offline
August 22, 2023 5:53 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Her contract expires next year. Last I heard it hadn’t been renewed and some Board of Trustee members are against her.
Stay tuned.

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Offline
August 21, 2023 5:16 pm

This might be worth watching >>>>> Scheduled for Aug 21, 2023 5:30 PM (Cal Time)
Lincoln Riley, Calen Bullock, Delaynie Maple and Dain Blanton headline the first Trojans Live of the new season! >>> Trojans Live: 8/21/23 – YouTube

HOF19
Noble Genius
HOF19
Offline
August 21, 2023 4:17 pm

Welcome Jennifer ………All I have to say is >>>>> Keep that “Expectations Bar ” high please ….. FIGHT ON !!!!!

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
Offline
August 21, 2023 4:02 pm

So far I like her. I listened to the press conference while working. Thanks, Allen.

Chris
Major Genius
Chris
Offline
August 21, 2023 4:21 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Grown up hire. Not mad at Folt

ATL D.D.S.
Noble Genius
ATL D.D.S.
Offline
August 21, 2023 5:21 pm
Reply to  Chris

Sorry, but color me skeptical.

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
Offline
August 21, 2023 4:27 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I sure like the fact she is on the CFP committee.