Former CFL commissioner Mark Cohon rejected XFL offer

A familiar face to CFL fans could have been the commissioner of the XFL.

Mark Cohon — who was the CFL’s commissioner from 2007 until 2015 — told The Rod Pedersen Show on Friday that he turned down an offer to become that league’s first commissioner.

“They approached me about becoming commissioner of that league,” Cohon said. “I had such a fun run in the CFL, I’ll leave on a high note.”

That job ended up being given to Oliver Luck — the father of former NFL quarterback Andrew Luck — who was previously the director of intercollegiate athletics at West Virginia University. Luck also had a role with the NCAA in charge of of the organization’s regulatory functions.

During Cohon’s time in charge of the CFL the league went through a period of growth including big bumps in ratings on TSN leading to a tripling of TV revenue. Cohon played a role in helping bring a number of new stadiums to the league and the successful return of the CFL to Ottawa. He also oversaw two separate collective bargaining agreements.

Cohon was always a fan favourite as well, as he was known for holding an event with the fans at the Grey Cup where he’d buy everyone a round.

Cohon stepped down as the league’s commissioner on April 29, 2015 citing that he had accomplished everything he could in the league.

There’s no doubt that Cohon’s success and massive popularity as CFL commissioner is what led Vince McMahon’s interest in having Cohon as the league’s boss.

Before joining the CFL, Cohon had previously worked with the NBA as the league’s head of international marketing. He was also the head of international corporate development for Major League Baseball.

Since leaving the CFL, Cohon has worked for the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Science, a group that, among other things, oversees the Juno Awards. Cohon has also worked for Toronto Global, a governement funded group working to advance Toronto’s interests. He’s also the chairman and partner in the Georgian Bay Spirit Company.

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