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New athletic director gives Washington unique distinction

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SEATTLE (AP) New Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen and school President Ana Mari Cauce hope that someday their situation is not noteworthy. That women being in charge of a university and its athletic department at the same time does not make a school stand out.

For now, though, Washington is the only Power Five school in the country with both a female president and female AD.

''The truth is we tell students this is what the future looks like in terms of the University of Washington and this is what the future looks like. You're going to see more women in positions of power,'' Cauce said Wednesday. ''I look forward to the day where this just isn't unusual and it's not worth commenting on.''

Cohen was formally introduced on Wednesday as the 15th athletic director in Washington's history. She was given a raucous celebration in a lounge overlooking renovated Husky Stadium, a project for which she spearheaded fundraising efforts.

The reception was the result of Cohen's nearly two decades working at Washington, and a childhood spent in the west stands of old Husky Stadium barking at opponents coming out of the tunnel.

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''I legitimately barked,'' Cohen said. ''I think it was a sign of a future competitiveness in me.''

Cohen had served as interim athletic director since January when AD Scott Woodward left for the same position at Texas A&M. She was selected from among a group of 16 to 20 candidates - later whittled down to four or five - who met with Washington's selection committee, Cauce said.

Cohen was offered the job last weekend while she and Cauce were attending the Pac-12 meetings. Cohen agreed to a five-year contract with a potential two-year extension, and guaranteed compensation of $460,000 per year. There are also performance bonuses worth up to another $100,000 available.

''Quite frankly, she is the best possible hire we could have made,'' Cauce said.

Cohen also joins a small group of female athletic directors at Power Five schools. Penn State's Sandy Barbour and North Carolina State's Debbie Yow are the only others overseeing programs at the top level of college football.

''My entire career I haven't thought a lot about my gender. I wanted to work hard and prove myself on my own merits, which I think I have,'' Cohen said. ''That being said, there is something really special about that. I have a lot of women on my staff, and folks across the country, I want them to be able to see that women can do it and if there are not women doing it they're not going to see that they can. I take that role seriously and I'm honored to be able to do that for other women.''