UW President Ana Mari Cauce announced Tuesday that after a four-month national search, Jennifer Cohen, senior associate athletic director at the University of Washington, who has been serving as the interim athletic director since January, has been named the UW’s new athletic director, effective June 1.
“I am very pleased to announce Jen’s appointment,” said Cauce. “She has all the skills and energy to provide exceptional leadership for Husky athletics. Her years of experience leading its 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.”
“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 has been with the UW for 18 years and for much of that time has overseen the athletic department’s fundraising efforts. In recent years, the football and baseball programs also reported 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 UW’s regional gifts program before returning to athletics to oversee the department’s major gifts program.
Cohen and her team led the “Drive for Husky Stadium” campaign, in which the department raised over $50 million in gifts for the renovation of Husky Stadium, which was completed in August 2013. Cohen has also led development efforts 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 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. She and her husband, Bill, are the parents of two sons, Tyson and Dylan.