Jennifer Cohen, who has worked at the UW for 18 years, has been the university's interim athletic director since January. She becomes the only female athletic director in the Pac-12 Conference.

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Jennifer Cohen, the University of Washington’s interim athletic director since January, has been named the Huskies’ new athletic director, the school announced Tuesday.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce will introduce Cohen at a press conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Husky Stadium.

Cohen grew up in Tacoma as a die-hard Husky fan and idolized legendary coach Don James. She has worked at UW for 18 years, spending much of that time overseeing fundraising for the athletic department.

“I had this crazy idea as a kid that I was going to work here,” she told The Times in January.

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She was named the interim AD in January after Scott Woodward abruptly left UW for the same job at Texas A&M.

Cohen had the support of many major UW benefactors and football coach Chris Petersen, who has told others that she is the best administrator he’s ever worked with. It was Woodward and Cohen who flew to Boise in December 2013 to finalize the coach’s deal with the Huskies.

As a senior associate athletic director, Cohen has spent the past three seasons overseeing football operations.

She becomes the only female athletic director in the Pac-12 Conference and one of three in the 65 Power Five schools.

“I am humbled, honored, and extremely thankful for this opportunity,” Cohen said in a news release. “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.”

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.

Cauce appointed a 14-member search committee to find the new athletic director. UW also hired the Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search to assist with the search, at a cost of $105,000. It’s the same firm UW used in 2008 when it hired Woodward, who had also been serving as the Huskies’ interim AD.

“I am very pleased to announce Jen’s appointment,” Cauce said in a news release. “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.”