USC hires Jennifer Cohen as first woman to lead Trojans' athletic department

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023
USC hires Jennifer Cohen as 1st woman to lead athletic department
Just days before USC's football season kicks off, the school announced that it hired Washington's Jennifer Cohen as the program's new athletic director.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Just days before USC's 2023 football season kicks off, the school announced Monday that it hired Washington's Jennifer Cohen as the program's new athletic director.

Cohen is one of the country's most established athletic directors and will become the first woman to lead the Trojans' athletic department.

This is a homecoming for Cohen, who was born in Arcadia and spent the past seven years as the athletic director at the University of Washington.

"I've always had strong admiration for USC, for the legendary teams, the legendary letterwinners, the Trojan spirit, and just the big space that USC takes up in this L.A. sports culture," Cohen said Monday.

USC's athletic department has dealt with numerous controversies, including the resignation of the school's two previous athletic directors - Lynn Swann and most recently Mike Bohn.

Bohn resigned in May citing health concerns and wanting to spend more time with his family. But according to the L.A. Times, multiple people at USC had complained about his leadership and management style.

Bohn was accused of making inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female colleagues. USC president Carol Folt said Cohen is the perfect person to lead the school's transition from the Pac-12 to the Big 10 next year.

"We demand someone who wants to win in every sport and wants to do it the right way," Folt said. "She shares our commitment in ensuring that our student athletes can achieve their very high academic and athletic goals."

Earlier this month, it was announced the University of Washington is also leaving the Pac-12 to join the Big 10. While at Washington, Cohen was the athletic director when the Huskies reached the College Football Playoff in 2016.

Cohen is a current member of the College Football Playoff committee. According to ESPN, Cohen's strong experience in football and in fundraising should pair well with USC's football team which is about to begin its second season with Lincoln Riley as head coach.

"We can win a national championship in all 21 of our sports, and at the same time we can graduate our student athletes with transferable skills that better prepares them for life after college," Cohen said.

ESPN contributed to this report.