A member of the U.S. judo team at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Cohen competed in the middleweight division. After winning his first round match, he was eliminated from the competition by Guram Gogalauri of the Soviet Union in the second round.
Cohen returned to the Olympics in 2000 as the head coach of the U.S. judo team at the Sydney Games.
The 1978 Black Belt Magazine Judo Competitor of the Year, Cohen is currently the U.S. National Judo team coach. He began competing at the Uptown Judo Club operated by the Jewish Community Centers in Chicago, and in 1969, he exploded onto the national judo scene by placing third at the AAU Nationals in the middleweight division. Two years later, Irwin won the middleweight national championship; he would also win the middleweight crown in 1972 and 1974. Because Cohen's brother Steve also competed as a middleweight, Irwin moved up to the light-heavyweight class and won the U.S. championship in that division in 1976 and 1978. He also won the gold medal at the 1973 and 1977 Maccabiah Games and the silver medal at the 1975 Pan American Games. Irwin and Steve currently run Cohen's Judo Club in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and coach for the U.S. National team.
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New York Times, September 3, 1972