|Position:||Director of Athletics|
Terry Mohajir became the 11th Director of Athletics in A-State history on September 19, 2012, and since that time the Red Wolves have enjoyed unprecedented overall success academically, competitively and financially.
Since being named director of athletics, Mohajir (pronounced MO-HODGE-ER) has adopted an “ALWAYS RISING” slogan as an expansion on the popular “RED WOLVES RISING” campaign. With that theme in mind, the Arkansas State alumnus has instituted sweeping changes, created new policies, produced record-breaking fundraising totals, overseen significant facility upgrades, almost tripled the athletics department budget and implemented creative philosophies that have put the Red Wolves on course to strengthen their national brand. During his watch, the Red Wolves have accomplished numerous firsts in both academics and athletics accomplishments, but the Red Wolves’ passionate and energetic leader continues to reinforce his belief that “our accomplishments of today become our expectations of tomorrow.”
A-State has claimed 13 conference championships under Mohajir, including four Sun Belt football titles (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and league crowns in volleyball (2015), men’s indoor (2015) and outdoor (2016) track and field, women’s bowling (2016), women’s basketball (2014 and 2016), women’s indoor (2013) and outdoor (2015) track and field and women’s cross country (2014).
Arkansas State had its first female student-athlete ever win an individual national championship and its women’s athletics program claimed its highest finish all-time in the Capital One Cup standings, earning two prestigious “Top-50” awards for ranking No. 44 among all NCAA Division I programs during 2013-14 and No. 45 in 2015-16. The No. 44 ranking remains the highest ever by a Sun Belt Conference women’s program.
The 2013-14 athletics year also saw A-State enjoy its highest ever finish in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings, ranking No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 83 in the nation among 297 schools. The Red Wolves’ finish not only set a school record, it topped the program’s previous high of No. 134 set in 1999-2000 by 51 places. A-State posted its second highest finish ever in the standings in 2015-16, and, most recently, again led the Sun Belt Conference in 2016-17.
During Mohajir’s tenure, A-State has won four football conference championships with three different head coaches, including Gus Malzahn, Bryan Harsin and Blake Anderson. His hires have been heralded by the national media as some of the best in the country.
Mohajir has responded well with coaching transitions. Carrying out one of his first major acts as athletics director, he appointed an interim head football coach and kept the entire assistant coaching staff in place for the 2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl. The Red Wolves went on to claim their first bowl victory since 1970 and their first win over a top-25 ranked opponent since joining the FBS in 1992. Faced with a head football coaching change following the next season as well, Mohajir guided A-State through the process again by keeping the assistant coaching staff in place and giving the Red Wolves everything needed in order to pick up a second consecutive GoDaddy Bowl win.
Mohajir has successfully guided A-State through coaching changes in other sports as well. He appointed Mike Hagen head men’s golf coach prior to the 2015-16 season, and he was promptly named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. Mohajir’s most recent hire, Mike Balado, was previously the lead assistant at one of the elite men’s basketball programs in the nation in Louisville and is considered one of the top up-and-coming head coaches in the nation. He replaced Mohajir’s previous hire, Grant McCasland, who led the Red Wolves to 20 regular-season victories to tie the school record in his lone year with the program.
Six different coaches at A-State since Mohajir’s arrival have been named either a Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year or national Coach of the Year a combined 12 times.
The value he places on the student-athlete has been evident, creating the inaugural A-State Awards held at the end of each year to celebrate both their academic and athletic accomplishments. He was behind the development of a student-advisory group that encompasses everything from a student-athlete mentorship program to fostering leadership in the community. The Red Wolves Leadership Academy program (RWLA) was designed with the sole purpose to obtain 100 percent job placement for all the athletics department’s student-athletes upon graduation, and that key initiative has been achieved the last three years in a row.
The RWLA continues to strengthen with a new study abroad component added to foster global awareness, which is often cited by employers as a positive attribute they seek. The study abroad program was designed to allow students the ability to make themselves more marketable in the workforce. The summer of 2015 saw Arkansas State student-athletes take part in the first study abroad program offered by any university and their athletics department in the nation. The program goes hand-in-hand with the RWLA’s primary purpose to obtain 100 percent job placement for all its graduating student-athletes.
The Red Wolves also saw their academic performance reach an all-time high during record-setting 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 fall semesters, which saw student-athletes achieve the best four ever all-department GPA’s in consecutive years. A-State achieved a 3.083 all-department GPA in the fall of 2016. The 2016 fall semester featured a school-record 216 student-athletes named to the Athletics Director’s Honor Roll, and the Red Wolves’ all-department 3.070 GPA for the entire 2016-17 academic year was their highest ever. The athletics department also posted its best ever department-wide APR score each of the last two years, according to the latest data (2015-16 and 2014-15).
Additionally, the Red Wolves’ have made a strong commitment to cost of attendance, appropriating funds for all student-athletes that is in the top 15 percent of all FBS schools.
Mohajir’s candid media interviews and engaging public speaking appearances have captivated the Red Wolves fan base, but his actions in a short amount of time have also reflected his vision to take A-State Athletics to new heights.
The primary development arm of A-State Athletics, formerly known as the Red Wolf Club, has been renamed the Red Wolves Foundation and a new logo has been introduced as part of a rebranding effort. The changes have been in conjunction with new and exciting initiatives that have been put in place, designed to make a significant impact on donor relations and fundraising opportunities. The positive results are evident with a 300 percent increase in the foundation’s annual fund revenue, while capital facilities fundraising is at an all-time high as well. A-State has also achieved its highest spot ever in the Collegiate Licensing Company’s (CLC) rankings and set school records for both football total season ticket sales and season ticket revenue. Not only that, A-State is ranked 21st among the schools in the Group of 5 conferences in self-generated revenue.
The athletics department’s budget has increased from $15.9 million in Mohajir’s first year to $43.1 million (FY 2016), representing an increase of 171 percent. A-State Athletics placed among the top 10 programs in the nation in each of the four most recent Excellence in Management Cup standings, which annually reviews the nation’s athletics departments in regards to maximizing fiscal resources while providing results in the form of championship victories.
The growth of A-State’s brand under Mohajir led to signing a new 10-year agreement in 2016 with Learfield Sports, one of the multimedia industry leaders, which will generate unprecedented revenue in the athletics department’s history. Arkansas State, in the fall of 2016, also entered a new seven-year partnership with adidas that is the most lucrative apparel-based contract in school history and makes it an elite adidas program.
Mohajir has made it a point to engage the fan base, stressing the importance of fan experience through avenues such as courtside seating at basketball games, enhancing game-day atmosphere and ensuring that staff go out of their way to extend every fan their assistance. Also among the changes in this area was the installation of a new approximately 1,600 square foot LED Daktronics scoreboard at Centennial Bank Stadium.
Facilities have received a number of facelifts since Mohajir’s arrival as well, making sure that the athletic department’s “front door” and other sports areas possess a first-class appearance. A-State has completed, is in the process of completing and has committed a combined $60 million in construction and facility renovations since Mohajir’s arrival, including stadium lighting and seats at Centennial Bank Stadium, new tennis courts and a new outdoor track. Also included in the upgrades have been renovations and updates inside the A-State Football Facility and with weight rooms, locker rooms and training rooms at both Centennial Bank Stadium and the Convocation Center, where new seating has been installed.
The Red Wolves Foundation received a $5 million gift commitment from alumnus Johnny Allison for a renovation to its “Centennial Expansion,” and it is the largest individual donation in A-State Athletics history. The construction and renovation project to the stadium’s press box and west-side concourse covered 40,000 square feet and cost $26 million.
Additionally, a 78,000-square foot Student Activity Center (SAC), which also serves as an indoor practice facility for A-State sports, has been constructed on the north side of Centennial Bank Stadium. The approximate cost was $11 million for construction of the center and the relocation of the soccer complex.
He is currently overseeing the fundraising efforts for an approximately $26-million football facility project in Centennial Bank Stadium’s north end zone as well.
Committed to Title IX and gender-equity initiatives, A-State has worked to improve coaching staff sizes and salaries, operation funding and facilities under Mohajir. Among the upgrades, A-State has completed a new women’s soccer and women’s tennis facility, which houses both squads’ locker rooms, training room and more. A new women’s bowling locker room, lounge and pro shop have also been constructed.
His philosophies on scheduling have been well documented, and they have resulted in home-and-home games with nationally-prominent programs such as Missouri and Miami for the first time in A-State history. He has capitalized on the Red Wolves recent success by gaining additional games against teams such as Southern Cal, making A-State the first Sun Belt program to schedule a football contest against the Trojans.
Mohajir was appointed as the Sun Belt Conference’s representative on the inaugural College Football Playoff Athletic Director’s Advisory Board, acting as one of 10 athletics directors from FBS conferences on the board. He was also asked to serve on the NCAA Division I Championships Cabinet and the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee. Mohajir was one of six athletics directors appointed to the NCAA Division I Football Ad Hoc Recruiting Working Group, which was formed to conduct a comprehensive review of Division I football recruiting legislation. Additionally, he was invited to be a guest panelist at Knight Commission public meeting in May 2017 at the National Press Club.
Mohajir continues to evaluate and process information to complete a national-branding campaign, but has already started building a strong foundation for the future of A-State Athletics.
Mohajir's career path went through three other NCAA Division I institutions, including the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Florida Atlantic and Kansas, before leading him back to his alma mater.
Mohajir's wealth of experience, history of success working with a university in A-State's current conference and his noted accomplishments at a BCS automatic qualifying school made him a clear choice to take over the reins at Arkansas State. Mohajir has gained national respect in collegiate athletics while working with some of the finest administrators and coaches in the country, such as former FAU, Louisville, Miami and Oklahoma head football coach Howard Schnellenberger.
The Overland Park, Kansas native has been involved with major fundraising campaigns at multiple universities, while al so overseeing corporate sales, marketing promotions and ticket sales. Prior to A-State, he most recently served 16 months as Kansas' Senior Associate Director of Athletics and Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to his time with the Jayhawks, he spent a seven-year stint as Florida Atlantic's Senior Associate Director of Athletics for External Relations from 2004-11 after working at UMKC from 1997-2004 as its Assistant Director of Athletics for External Relations.
Mohajir worked at Kansas in a variety of capacities during two different stints, but his latest stop in Lawrence saw him assume responsibility for the Williams Education Fund that totaled over $22 million in revenue for the fiscal year 2012. He supervised the athletics department's areas that generated over $40 million in revenue. In addition, Mohajir oversaw Kansas' multimedia rights partnership for IMG. His most recent role as Chief Marketing Officer was heavily focused on the market strategies for the proposed football stadium renovations.
Mohajir went to Kansas from his position at Florida Atlantic, where he oversaw development, marketing, ticket sales, corporate sales and the media relations department. Foremost among his responsibilities was a fundraising campaign for a $70 million on-campus football stadium. His astute project management helped the Owls' football program reach the 2007 New Orleans Bowl in just its fourth year as an FBS program, an NCAA record for the fastest start-up program to go to a bowl game. During his tenure, FAU's athletics department enhanced its major gift program 800 percent, Owl Club giving increased 400 percent and special-events revenue increased 150 percent.
Mohajir's original connection to KU dated back to the early 1990's, when he was a graduate assistant, an assistant offensive line coach and game-day special team's football coach for the Jayhawks (1993-96). He left Kansas in 1997 but didn't go far, staying in the Kansas City area to take over his administrative position with the newly-created Division I UMKC Athletics program. There he supervised marketing and promotions, sports information, fundraising, radio and TV contracts, corporate sales, tickets, event operations, sports medicine, strength and conditioning and men's soccer.
Under his leadership, the Kangaroos saw dramatic increases in endowment, sponsorships, ticket revenue and its donor base. One of his more visible accomplishments at UMKC was the fundraising and construction efforts for a new training room and strength and conditioning center.
During his time as an assistant coach at Kansas, Mohajir was on the staff that beat UCLA in the 1995 Aloha Bowl and had a final ranking of No. 9 in the AP poll. He was also a football ticket sales and promotions account executive for Kansas Athletics and earned a master's degree in sports management at KU in 1997.
Mohajir graduated from Arkansas State University with a major in sports management and a minor in business marketing in 1993. He was a starting safety on A-State's football team.
Mohajir is married to the former Julie Hammond and they have two daughters, Maria (16) and Molly (14), and son, Marco (9).