Abe Cohn
Cohn cropped from 1918 Michigan team portrait
Date of birth: June 27, 1897(1897-06-27)
Place of birth: Portland, Oregon
Date of death: October 23, 1970(1970-10-23) (aged 73)
Place of death: Seattle, Washington
Career information
Position(s): Halfback/End
College: Michigan
 As player:
1917–1918, 1920 Michigan

Abraham Jerome "Abe" Cohn (June 27, 1897 – October 23, 1970) was an American football and basketball player, coach and official. He played football and basketball at the University of Michigan from 1917 to 1920. He coached football and basketball at Whitworth College from 1921 to 1922 and at Spokane University from 1923 to 1924. He was also an official for the Pacific Coast Conference and the supervisor of the Washington State Liquor Board's licensing bureau from 1934 to 1968.

Early yearsEdit

Cohn was born in Portland, Oregon in 1897. His parents, Hyman (sometimes listed as Herman) and Eva Cohn, emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1884 or 1885, and were identified in U.S. Census records as "Russian Yiddish."[1][2] At the time of the 1900 Census, Cohn was living with his parents and four older siblings in Spokane, Washington.[1] Cohn's father and two uncles founded the Cohn Brothers furniture store in Spokane in the 1890s. Over the next 40 years, the family continued to operate the store at the same location.[3][4][5] Cohn attended Spokane's Lewis and Clark High School where he was a star football and basketball player.[6][7] He was "remembered by Spokane football enthusiasts as the plunging back of the 1915 Lewis and Clark high school football team."[8]

University of MichiganEdit

Cohn enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1916.[9] He was a member of the law school class of 1921. While at Michigan, he played halfback for the Michigan Wolverines football teams of 1917, 1918 and 1920.[8] The 1918 team completed the season undefeated and has been rated by some as the national championship team of 1918. After Michigan's victory over Case to open the 1918 season, the Detroit Free Press called Abe Cohn "an eye opener" as a ground gainer and noted: "He made a gain practically every time he was given the ball and, when he was stopped, it always took two or three men to turn the trick."[10] Cohn did not try out for the football team in 1919. Having only one year of varsity eligibility remaining, and with many players returning to college following service in World War I, Coach Yost recommended that Cohn save his final year for the 1920 season.[7] He returned to the Wolverines football team in 1920.[11] The 1921 Michiganensian (University of Michigan yearbook) noted, "Cohn was especially valuable, filling in at end when the occasion demanded."[12] The authors added, "A heavy, fast player, who was a regular halfback, but could take his place at end or fullback if occasion demanded. He is one of the stars lost by graduation."[13]

Cohn also played for the Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team. He was a starting forward in 1918.[14][15]

Later yearsEdit

After graduating from Michigan, Cohn returned to Spokane. In September 1921, he was appointed as the football and basketball coach at Whitworth College.[16] He coached at Whitworth for two years and also coached at Mead High School in the mornings.[17]

Cohn was the head football coach at Spokane University in 1923 and 1924.[18][19]

In 1924, The Michigan Alumnus reported that Cohn was affiliated with Cohn Brothers Furniture, the furniture business begun by his father.[20] Cohn remained a partner in the furniture business until the store's closure in 1960.[21]

In 1932, Cohn was living in Seattle, Washington. He served as a football and basketball official for 30 years,[17] including approximately eight years as a football official for the Pacific Coast Conference from 1930 to 1937.[22][23][24][25][26][27]

Cohn also worked for many years for the State of Washington Liquor Board. He began with a position as the assistant manager of Liquor Store No. 2 in Seattle.[17] He was the supervisor of the Liquor Board's licensing bureau from 1934 until his retirement in 1968.[28][17]

Cohn was married to Alta Clark.[17] In October 1970, Cohn died of a heart attack in Seattle. He was age 73 at the time of his death.[29]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Spokane Ward 3, Spokane, Washington; Roll: T623_1751; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 68.
  2. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Spokane Ward 3, Spokane, Washington; Roll: T624_1671; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0178; Image: 74; FHL Number: 1375684.
  3. "Cohn Brothers Pioneer Company". Spokane Daily Chronicle. June 14, 1934.,3130594&dq=cohn-brothers+spokane&hl=en.
  4. "Cohn Brothers Mark Birthday". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 9, 1939.,2133869&dq=cohn-brothers+spokane&hl=en.
  5. "Have Fine Store: Cohn Brothers Complete New Building – Open New Departments". Spokane Daily Chronicle. June 2, 1909.,3482041&dq=cohn-brothers+spokane&hl=en.
  6. "Abe Cohn Plays Ann Arbor End: Former Lewis and Clark Moose Switched From Backfield". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 14, 1917.,6572828&dq=abe-cohn+michigan+football&hl=en.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Abe Cohn Is Out of Game This Year: Former South High Player Will Hold Off for the Season of 1920". Spokane Daily Chronicle. October 17, 1919.,1030000&dq=abe-cohn+michigan&hl=en.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Abe Cohn Will Play Today: Will Start at End for Michigan Eleven Against Cornell". The Spokesman-Review. November 10, 1917.,4087000&dq=abe-cohn+michigan&hl=en.
  9. "Ann Arbor Alumni Honor Local Lads: Johnson and Cohn Will Be Guests at Luncheon Before Going to Michigan". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 16, 1916.,1436605&dq=abe-cohn+michigan&hl=en.
  10. "Wolverines All Escape Serious Injury Saturday: Of Those Who Played Against Case, Only Usher Will Not Report on Monday". Detroit Free Press. October 7, 1918.,+1918&author=Special+to+The+Free+Press&pub=Detroit+Free+Press+(1858-1922)&edition=&startpage=10&desc=WOLVERINES+ALL+ESCAPE+SERIOUS+INJURY+SATURDAY.
  11. "HALFBACK COHN FEATURES SCRIMMAGES AT MICHIGAN: Tears Through Reserves' Line for Three Touchdowns in Hot Struggle—Several New Men Turn Out for Practice". Detroit Free Press. September 30, 1920.,+1920&author=&pub=Detroit+Free+Press+(1858-1922)&desc=HALFBACK+COHN+FEATURES+SCRIMMAGES+AT+MICHIGAN&pqatl=google.
  12. Michiganensian. 1921. p. 273.;cc=moa;q1=cohn;rgn=full%20text;idno=AAG4364.1921.001;didno=AAG4364.1921.001;view=image;seq=00000283.
  13. Michiganensian. 1921. p. 277.;cc=moa;q1=cohn;rgn=full%20text;idno=AAG4364.1921.001;didno=AAG4364.1921.001;view=image;seq=00000287.
  14. "Abe Cohn Wins Place on Five: Turns Out for Michigan's Basket Ball Team and Lands Forward Job". Spokane Daily Chronicle. January 24, 1918.,2177750&dq=abe-cohn+michigan&hl=en.
  15. "Spokane Daily Chronicle". October 26, 1921.,3778995&dq=abe-cohn+michigan&hl=en.
  16. "Cohn to Coach at Whitworth: Spokane Man, Former Michigan Star, Selected for Football, Basketball". The Spokesman-Review. September 27, 1921.,5452027&dq=abe-cohn+michigan&hl=en.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 "Former Spokanite: Official Retiring From Liquor Unit". Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 10, 1968.,2301673&dq=cohn+liquor-board+spokane&hl=en.
  18. "Spokane U Plays College Friday". Spokane Daily Chronicle. October 18, 1923.,3179330&dq=abe-cohn+spokane&hl=en.
  19. "Revise Curricula at Spokane "U"". The Spokesman-Review. August 6, 1925.,1072393&dq=abe-cohn+spokane&hl=en.
  20. The Michigan Alumnus, Volume 30.
  21. "Cohn Brothers Store to Close". Spokane Daily Chronicle. December 28, 1960.,6718329&dq=cohn-brothers+spokane&hl=en.
  22. "Abe Cohn, Former Spokane High School Star, to Referee Shrine Game Thursday". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 19, 1932.,4071076&dq=abe-cohn+spokane&hl=en. ("Abe Cohn of Seattle, Coast Conference official...")
  23. "IDAHO ELEVEN BOWS TO WASHINGTON, 27-0". The New York Times. October 12, 1930. Cohn, Seattle, referee)
  24. "WASHINGTON STATE WINS COAST TITLE; Takes Championship in Pacific Conference, Beating the Washington Huskies, 3-0". The New York Times. November 16, 1930. Cohn, Seattle, field judge)
  25. "Field Goal in Last Two Minutes of Play Gives Washington State 9-8 Win Over Idaho". Los Angeles Times. Nov 8, 1931.(Abe Cohn, Spokane, field judge)
  26. FRANK FINCH (Oct 17, 1937). "FISTS FLY AS BRUINS TIE O.S.C., 7 TO 7". Los Angeles Times.(Abe Cohn, Michigan, head linesman)
  27. "Idaho Vandals Nip Gonzaga". Los Angeles Times. Nov 14, 1937.(Abe Cohn, Seattle, field judge)
  28. "State Liquor Board Aide Conducts Hearings in Spokane". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 9, 1939.,2133869&dq=cohn+liquor-board+spokane&hl=en.
  29. "Official dies". Port Angeles Evening News. October 27, 1970.

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