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UPENN Alumni: Drive

By: Dave Zeitlin C’03 

Class of ’87 | Rick Cohen C’87 came to Penn as a highly touted football player and left as little more than a four-year benchwarmer for the Quakers—or, as he put it, “one of 1,000 high-school All American players that get to play college football and wind up doing nothing.” The experience was a humbling one for Cohen, who, as a smart, popular high-school jock from Long Island, was used to things going his way. But it also proved instrumental in developing the kind of attitude necessary to discover his true ambition. 

Later, through failed marriages, career changes, cross-country moves, parental disapproval, and a devastating car accident that very nearly smashed his dreams, Cohen did the same thing he had done during his Penn football days: he kept showing up. And now, with his past hardships serving mostly as a catalyst, Cohen has carved out the career that he always wanted: as a filmmaker specializing in sports documentaries that explore the human condition. 

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