The University of Washington hired Tulane’s Troy Dannen as the school’s new athletics director, it was announced on Saturday.
Dannen had been Tulane’s athletics director since December 2015 and helped usher the school’s football team into one of the strongest Group of 5 programs in the country, as Tulane won an American Athletic Conference championship and beat USC in the Cotton Bowl last season.
Dannen will lead Washington into its debut season in the Big Ten in 2024-25, as the school announced it would join the league this summer. He takes over at a time when the Huskies are No. 7 in the country in football and Kalen DeBoer has emerged as one of the sport’s most promising young coaches.
Dannen’s football experience was attractive to the Washington brass, as he is in his fourth year as chair of the NCAA Football Competition Committee and is an executive committee member of the Football Oversight Committee.
Dannen takes over for Jen Cohen, who left for USC in August. He is the first outside athletics director to take over at Washington since Todd Turner in 2004, as both Scott Woodward and Cohen were internal promotions.
Dannen hired Willie Fritz as coach his first week on the job in 2015, and last year Fritz led Tulane to its first league title since 1998, the Cotton Bowl win and a No. 9 final ranking. Tulane’s men’s basketball team won 20 games last season under Ron Hunter, and the overall athletic year is regarded as one of the best in school history.
Tulane has started this season 4-1 in football and is considered a favorite to repeat as AAC champions. Fritz has been to four bowl games in his tenure, the same number that Tulane went to from 1987 through 2013.
Prior to his eight years at Tulane, Dannen spent eight years as the athletics director at Northern Iowa (2008-15).
While at Tulane, Dannen served on the Transformation Committee, a select group of leaders co-chaired by Greg Sankey of the SEC and Julie Cromer of Ohio University that formed in 2021 and examined issues shaping college sports.
Both Tulane and Washington, coincidentally, have byes this week.