USC has hired Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen to be its athletic director, a source with knowledge of the hire not authorized to speak publicly told The Times.
USC president Carol Folt called a news conference for 1 p.m. Monday to announce the hire. Cohen, 54, a native of Arcadia, will be the first female athletic director in USC history.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel was the first to report the hire.
Cohen has spent the last 24 years at Washington, where she has been the athletic director since 2016. Since taking over the department, 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 reportedly make about half a share of the conference’s media rights distribution, while the Trojans and Bruins will make full shares from the start.
Before leading the department, she headed fundraising at UW, where she raised $50 million for the renovation of Husky Stadium, which was completed in August 2013.
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. When former head coach Chris 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.
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