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John Cohen - New Auburn Athletics Director


Zeek
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AUBURN, Ala. — John Cohen, who has more than two decades as a coach and administrator in the Southeastern Conference, has been named the 16th Director of Athletics at Auburn University, President Dr. Chris Roberts announced Monday. Cohen has spent the previous 14 years at Mississippi State in various capacities, most recently as the athletic director the past six years. 

"John has a wealth of experience in college athletics, particularly in the Southeastern Conference and his resume and references are impeccable," Roberts said. "His leadership and success as a head coach and an athletic director speak for themselves. John will embrace Auburn and be a tremendous leader for our athletics program as we move forward." 

Cohen's career in college athletics began as a baseball player at Mississippi State before entering the coaching ranks for 25 years that included being a two-time SEC Coach of the Year at State. Named director of athletics at MSU on November 4, 2016, Cohen led the Bulldog program to record-breaking success athletically, academically and in facilities enhancement during his tenure.

"I'm extremely grateful to President Roberts for the opportunity to be the next director of athletics at Auburn University," Cohen said. "Auburn is an incredibly special place as is demonstrated by the hall of fame coaches and athletes that have been a part of its storied history. I understand the traditions and values at Auburn and look forward to continuing those traditions. I'm humbled and honored to be joining the Auburn family."

Cohen's first directive as athletic director was to elevate Rich McGlynn to deputy athletics director where the two will work together to further elevate the Auburn Athletics Department.

Athletically, Cohen oversaw arguably the greatest era in Bulldog athletics history, highlighted by a 2021 College World Series Championship for the school's first team national title in any sport. A total of five Bulldog programs turned in a program-best season with Cohen at the helm of the department, including softball (2022), baseball (2021), volleyball (2021), soccer (2018) and women's basketball (2017, 2018). 
 
A nationally respected leader within intercollegiate athletics, Cohen serves on the prestigious 10-member NCAA Division I Baseball Committee as part of a four-year term that began on September 1, 2019. Cohen is one of 16 individuals have played and coached in the College World Series and one of just two among that elite group, who have played, coached and later served as director of athletics for a participating school. He is one of three active SEC athletics director to hire an eventual national championship winning head coach in any sport.

Cohen, who spent more than two decades coaching college baseball, was named MSU's head baseball coach in July of 2008. Nine years later, Cohen's official role in administration began when he assumed the role of associate athletic director in addition to head baseball coach. 

Success shouldn't come as a surprise as it was never far removed from him during his 12-year run as a head coach in the SEC. His teams were successful both on the field and in the classroom. At MSU, he led the Bulldogs to a College World Series finals appearance, an SEC regular season championship and a SEC Tournament championship. In the classroom upon his arrival in 2009, 133 players were selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, including three straight SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year winners from 2013-15.

As a baseball player at MSU, Cohen was a key player on the Bulldogs' 1989 SEC championship team and 1990 College World Series team. He graduated from MSU with a degree in English in 1990 and received a master's degree in sports management from the University of Missouri in 1994.

Following a six-year stint with Missouri as a graduate assistant and assistant coach, Cohen was the head coach at Northwestern State University from 1998-2001. Cohen spent two seasons as an assistant baseball coach at the University of Florida before becoming the head coach at the University of Kentucky in 2004, a position he held for five seasons before returning to his alma mater. Cohen guided the Wildcats to the program's first SEC championship in 2006 with a remarkable worst-to-first finish in his third season.

While winning 284 games as a head coach at MSU, Cohen demonstrated a keen ability to develop players and coaches. During his tenure, 138 MSU baseball players were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. His influence can be seen throughout the SEC as four of his former assistants are now or have been head coaches — Brad Bohannon (Alabama), Gary Henderson (Kentucky/Mississippi State), Nick Mingione (Kentucky) and Butch Thompson (Auburn).

Cohen is the only coach in SEC history to win an SEC championship, SEC tournament championship, and advance to the College World Series both as a player and head coach. He and Ron Polk are the only two baseball coaches in SEC history to lead multiple schools to SEC titles. His 2013 Bulldog club advanced to the CWS championship series for the first time in MSU history. Cohen also had the privilege of being a part of a College World Series as a player, head coach and three times as an athletic director (2018, '19, '21).

Professional Experience
1992-94: Graduate Assistant, Missouri
1995-97: Assistant Coach, Missouri
1998-2001: Head Coach, Northwestern State
2002-03: Assistant Coach, Florida
2004-08: Head Coach, Kentucky
2009-16: Head Coach, Mississippi State
July 2016-November 2016: Associate Athletic Director, Mississippi State
November 2016-October 2022: Director of Athletics, Mississippi State 
 

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT JOHN COHEN...

 
"John has a wealth of experience in college athletics, particularly in the Southeastern Conference and his resume and references are impeccable," Roberts said. "His leadership and success as a head coach and an athletic director speak for themselves. John will embrace Auburn and be a tremendous leader for our athletics program as we move forward. 
- Dr. Chris Roberts, Auburn University President

"I have known and worked with John for the past 25 years in the Southland Conference and SEC and know him to be creative with strong vision.  I look forward to working with him in his new role and I wish John and Nelle the best." 
- Greg Sankey, Southeastern Conference Commissioner

"John has won championships at the highest level both as a coach and as an administrator and knows how to win. Given his experience as a Southeastern Conference Athletic Director and knowing he's empowering Rich McGlynn, this is the best of both worlds. I'm excited about our new leadership team. It's time for the Auburn family to come together as we move forward."
- Bruce Pearl, Auburn Men's Basketball Coach 

"John is one of the most impactful and intelligent people I've been around in my career. I've seen him lead firsthand and we competed for a national championship together. He stepped up to the plate for me when it was time to become a head coach at Auburn. I am a better coach and a better man because of our time together and can't wait serve him again. I look forward to Auburn people getting to know John."
- Butch Thompson, Auburn Head Baseball Coach

"I've known John for over 30 years, first as a player, and then as a coach and administrator. He has many admirable traits, most notably a high level of intelligence and an intense competitiveness. Additionally, few people are as prepared and anticipate circumstances as well at John does. He did a wonderful job at Mississippi State, and Auburn will benefit from his leadership of Tiger athletics."
- Scott Stricklin, University of Florida Athletic Director

"John Cohen has excelled at the highest level in every facet of college athletics.  As a player, a coach, and administrator-John embodies the integrity, education, stewardship, and competitive fire to lead others in the ever-changing environment by which we are challenged. John and Nelle are passionate about others and will serve Auburn well."
- Mitch Barnhart, University of Kentucky Athletic Director

"John Cohen brings a wealth of experience, passion and vision to Auburn Athletics. He is a fierce competitor who will inspire a winning culture for student-athletes, coaches, staff, the community and supporters. John is known for his commitment to the student-athlete experience and is well-regarded nationally as an innovative leader. Congratulations to John, his family and to Auburn University."
- Jenn Cohen, University of Washington Athletic Director

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I know players and stuff like that, I don't have time to research AD's but are we just taking what we can get here?

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1 minute ago, cole256 said:

I know players and stuff like that, I don't have time to research AD's but are we just taking what we can get here?

I’d wager we took someone with P5 experience. 

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Welp. It is what it is. Seems like he's had a mixed bag of results. Don't know too much about the guy so will give him a fair chance. Auburn going to Auburn when it comes to process of hiring. Hopefully it works out but the way we handle things seem to put coaches and ADs at a disadvantage from the start and becomes an uphill battle for them. 

Edited by WarEagle1983
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1 minute ago, cole256 said:

I know players and stuff like that, I don't have time to research AD's but are we just taking what we can get here?

There were four candidates seriously mentioned and vetted. Cohen, Hartwell, Nunez, and McGlynn. Each has their pros/cons and different supporters. This was a bit of a surprise to some as his name came up seemingly last second. However, Roberts had been tight lipped so it should have been somewhat expected. The upside is he has SEC experience and has done some good things for Mississippi State.

Time will tell how the boosters and other players react.

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So is it a done deal (again)? Sounds like it. But it sounded like it Saturday also. This one sounds more official, so I'll believe it more this time. 🤣

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1 minute ago, DAG said:

Get out of his way and let him do is job. 

Unless he needs Harsin's #, then someone give the man a hand.

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3 minutes ago, Zeek said:

There were four candidates seriously mentioned and vetted. Cohen, Hartwell, Nunez, and McGlynn. Each has their pros/cons and different supporters. This was a bit of a surprise to some as his name came up seemingly last second. However, Roberts had been tight lipped so it should have been somewhat expected. The upside is he has SEC experience and has done some good things for Mississippi State.

Time will tell how the boosters and other players react.

Ok cool. What were this guy's pros and cons if you have time explaining. I don't know anything about him. I won't lie I hear miss st and just think meh....

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1 minute ago, Zeek said:

There were four candidates seriously mentioned and vetted. Cohen, Hartwell, Nunez, and McGlynn. Each has their pros/cons and different supporters. This was a bit of a surprise to some as his name came up seemingly last second. However, Roberts had been tight lipped so it should have been somewhat expected. The upside is he has SEC experience and has done some good things for Mississippi State.

Time will tell how the boosters and other players react.

From reports it seems the boosters are underwhelmed. They don't have anything against Cohen but wanted a "home run hire" or keep McGlynn. They just didn't like the fact that Roberts didn't pick up the phone and call a few key people and ask their opinions. A courtesy call. That's why there was some hesitation to hire a couple days ago before today. My only concern with the reports if true, that some of our coaches are not on board with him. We shall see. 

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Just now, cole256 said:

Ok cool. What were this guy's pros and cons if you have time explaining. I don't know anything about him. I won't lie I hear miss st and just think meh....

The con is rumored that the big money people don’t like him and the fans want him gone ? Even though they gave him an extension last summer Bad hire in the previous coach prior to Leach. 

 

the pros: his coaches had a successful run at Mississippi state . He has proven to go out of the box to get coaches (see leach), he has over shadowed infrastructure growth there. He supposedly fancies Matt Rhule and rumored to also like DS. Take if for what it is worth . 

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4 minutes ago, Auburn02 said:

So is it a done deal (again)? Sounds like it. But it sounded like it Saturday also. This one sounds more official, so I'll believe it more this time. 🤣

Yeah. There seemed to be hesitation b/c of reports important people where not informed and allowed to give their feedback on him. The claims are Roberts took time to think and make sure he was for sure. 

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2 minutes ago, cole256 said:

Ok cool. What were this guy's pros and cons if you have time explaining. I don't know anything about him. I won't lie I hear miss st and just think meh....

Honestly, the main thing he had over the other guys is experience as an AD at a Power 5/SEC school.

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3 minutes ago, DAG said:

Get out of his way and let him do is job. 

YEP!

For once, can the PTB throw their personal preferences & opinions aside and get behind this guy for the good of AUBURN and not their own damn interests?

 

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4 minutes ago, Auburn02 said:

Unless he needs Harsin's #, then someone give the man a hand.

He needs to be gone ASAP. I don’t care if Cohen has his own interim coach he wants. I want him gone like now.

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1 minute ago, DAG said:

The con is rumored that the big money people don’t like him and the fans want him gone ? Even though they gave him an extension last summer Bad hire in the previous coach prior to Leach. 

 

the pros: his coaches had a successful run at Mississippi state . He has proven to go out of the box to get coaches (see leach), he has over shadowed infrastructure growth there. He supposedly fancies Matt Rhule and rumored to also like DS. Take if for what it is worth . 

Thx bro. Like I said I don't know much about him. I don't want to speak on stuff I know nothing about. Hell I'm probably still not going to speak on him as I learn more....That's how much I don't know about him or this subject lol

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1 minute ago, Tony4AU said:

Also reading Auburn looking to hire an Associate AD to oversee NIL with Cohen

Well that should be Cohen’s call tbh

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Just now, cole256 said:

Thx bro. Like I said I don't know much about him. I don't want to speak on stuff I know nothing about. Hell I'm probably still not going to speak on him as I learn more....That's how much I don't know about him or this subject lol

Right I am only going off what I can read then rumored stuff. You know how folks be like on here though. Run with anything, even in the face of common sense. 

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2 minutes ago, TitanTiger said:

Honestly, the main thing he had over the other guys is experience as an AD at a Power 5/SEC school.

I see that as good and bad. I'm thinking with just how bad we are now we probably need experience.....But at the same time when you really need to shake things up I like fresh guys that may not even know what their limitations are if that makes sense.

I'm just praying for the best

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Just now, cole256 said:

I see that as good and bad. I'm thinking with just how bad we are now we probably need experience.....But at the same time when you really need to shake things up I like fresh guys that may not even know what their limitations are if that makes sense.

I'm just praying for the best

Me and you both, brother.  Me and you both.

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  • RunInRed changed the title to John Cohen - New Auburn Athletics Director

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