Troy Dannen jumps at rare opportunity to become UW Huskies AD

Oct 10, 2023, 6:31 PM | Updated: 6:46 pm

SEATTLE (AP) — Troy Dannen was happy in New Orleans. The athletic program he took over at Tulane in 2015 was thriving, especially a football program still basking in what was accomplished last season. But when the job as UW Huskies athletic director came open in August and Dannen became identified in the search process, the thought of making a career-defining move entered his mind.

More: New UW Huskies AD Troy Dannen addresses murky future of Apple Cup

“I then I went through six weeks of nerves about whether I could actually get the job or not,” Dannen said Tuesday.

Dannen did get the job, taking over at Washington at a time with major changes on the horizon for the university. Dannen replaced Jen Cohen, who left in August to take the top position in the athletic department at Southern California.

Cohen was the one in charge of Washington athletics when the Huskies announced they, along with Oregon, were leaving for the Big Ten helping lead to the collapse of the Pac-12.

It will be Dannen taking the Huskies into the Big Ten at a time when Washington is thriving in football but is facing questions in men’s basketball, there’s a department deficit of nearly $8 million in the next fiscal year and there will be a major jump in the debt services paid on the Husky Stadium renovation in the coming years.

“I think the move to the Big Ten gives us hope for stability and vitality and while that full per diem, if you will, in the Big Ten may be a little ways out, the future is bright,” Dannen said.

The Iowa native arrived at Tulane eight years ago after a stint as the athletic director at Northern Iowa. He has served on various NCAA committees in recent years, including the Division I Transformation Committee and the Football Oversight Committee.

During his time at Tulane, Dannen hired football coach Willie Fritz and helped turn the Green Wave into one of the strongest Group of Five programs in the country in the American Athletic Conference.

For his first introduction at Washington, Dannen seemed to win over the audience in his new environment.

He made note of the rowing shell from the 1936 Olympics — “The Boys in the Boat” shell — hanging above the podium in the room where his introduction was held. He shared the story of becoming a Seattle SuperSonics fan in Iowa because “Downtown” Freddie Brown played for the Sonics and played collegiately at Iowa.

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