His first full year with the Knights in 2021 featured all of that and more—from the February hiring of Gus Malzahn as the new UCF head football coach, to the September announcement that UCF will join the Big 12 Conference, to the Knights’ acceptance of an invitation to the Gasparilla Bowl after Malzahn’s first UCF team won five of its last six games to finish the regular season at 8-4.
Mohajir (pronounced mo-HAH-zhure) joined the UCF Athletics staff in February 2021 following eight years as Arkansas State University’s vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics.
“Terry is a high-energy leader who has demonstrated success in raising a school’s national profile by hiring high-quality coaches and developing outstanding facilities that enhance the experiences of student-athletes, fans and donors,” says UCF president Alexander N. Cartwright. “Most importantly, he cares deeply about student-athletes’ success in competition, in the classroom and after they graduate.”
“I’m excited for the opportunity to build on the tremendous momentum UCF’s talented student-athletes, coaches and staff have established with the enthusiastic support of Knight Nation and so many generous donors,” Mohajir said when he was hired. “There’s no doubt in my mind that together we will continue to construct the best athletics program in the country by providing exceptional resources and services to our students.”
Mohajir wasted no time making an impact at UCF. Just five days after taking over the Knights’ program he hired former Auburn coach Malzahn as the new UCF football coach. Malzahn was the head coach at Arkansas State in 2012 when Mohajir was hired there as director of athletics--with the Red Wolves winning the Sun Belt Conference title that year in Malzahn’s single season with Arkansas State. Malzahn led Auburn to the Bowl Championship Series title game after the 2013 campaign, one Southeastern Conference Championship and two SEC West Division titles. In his 10 years as a head coach (including 2021 at UCF) every one of Malzahn’s teams qualified for a bowl game--six of those New Year’s Day contests.
After Mohajir came on board at UCF, Knight teams produced these on-field achievements in 2021:
--AAC titles in volleyball (back-to-back championships in spring 2021 and fall 2021), men’s soccer, men’s tennis and women’s tennis
--NCAA Championship appearances by those five teams, plus women’s basketball, women’s golf and softball, with individuals qualifying in men’s golf and women’s track and field
--NCAA Sweet 16 qualifications in men’s soccer and women’s tennis, plus an NCAA regional runner-up slot in softball
Just days after the start of the 2021 football season came an announcement that merited national headlines: UCF will be joining the Big 12 Conference.
“I speak for all of us at UCF in expressing our excitement for the opportunities that lie ahead,” said Mohajir. “I’m confident our Knight teams will rise to the challenges to come. Here at UCF we are in the business of providing the best possible opportunities for our student-athletes to thrive while they are here and to have post-collegiate career success. We are convinced that competing as a member of the Big 12 Conference absolutely will help us accomplish those goals.”
Mohajir’s August 2021 presentation to the UCF Board of Trustees of a vision and action plan for the future of the Knights’ football campus proved to be a noteworthy precursor to the Big 12 announcement. That vision included significant proposed new elements that will enhance the Knights’ ability to compete for football championships:
--a new structure on the south side of the football stadium to be located above the Garvy Center for Student-Athlete Nutrition, featuring all UCF football coaches’ offices combined with premium seating in front of the office areas and the Launch Club, a premium area that will serve as a daily club for lunch and/or dinner and also a proposed new UCF faculty/staff club.
--a rebuilt Wayne Densch Sports Center that, in the absence of football staff offices, will feature an expansion and renovation of the locker room and team lounge and meeting area, Bortles and Murray Athletic Training Room, equipment facilities and Gault-Kohn Sports Performance Center as part the Knights’ football training facility
--creation of Nicholson Plaza, a football “town square” outside the southwest corner of the football stadium, with the highlight of that location to be McNamara Cove with a recovery river
--movement of one existing football practice field (west field) to the other side of the second (east field), creating additional space for Nicholson Plaza
All those improvements, combined with the Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership on the east side of the stadium, will further refine a state-of-the-art plan for football facilities and support services within a concentrated locale on the northeast side of the UCF campus. The intent is to create a dedicated football campus that will consolidate the Knights’ facilities in the areas of housing, nutrition, sports medicine, sports performance, academics and career services.
Those proposed additions combine with several new elements added in the months since Mohajir and Malzahn came on board: replacement of existing synthetic grass in Nicholson Fieldhouse, outside painting of Nicholson Fieldhouse, all-new theming in the UCF football office areas and hallways and new seating and graphics in the Knights’ team meeting room.
Still to come are a series of planned facility upgrades and improvements that will affect every other UCF sports program.
Mohajir’s tenure at Arkansas State featured delivering on a guarantee that every student-athlete who graduated earned a job opportunity or admission to graduate school. The Red Wolves achieved the 100% guarantee every year for Mohajir’s last six years there—and he instituted the same program at UCF under the banner of the Knights Leadership Academy, with 48 spring and summer 2021 graduates taking advantage of those opportunities.
In addition, he prompted rebranding of the Knights’ ongoing athletics fundraising and giving platform as the ChargeOn Fund, established excellence funds for each of UCF’s sports, helped raise more than $11 million in commitments through the end of 2021, reworked the UCF management team of senior athletic administrators—and attached his imprint to the Knights’ future football schedules with creation of a series with Florida. In the classroom, UCF student-athletes in fall 2021 achieved a 28th consecutive semester with a combined grade-point average of at least 3.0. The 2021 spring semester produced 148 dean’s list honorees among UCF student-athletes.
Mohajir also has played a major role for UCF Athletics in navigating both ongoing Covid-19 challenges and the adoption of name, image and likeness (NIL) initiatives with Opendorse and Compass via UCF’s LAUNCH program.
Mohajir was a member of the prestigious College Football Playoff (CFP) Selection Committee from 2019-21, and he has served on the NCAA Division I Championships Cabinet and the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee. He was 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. In 2020 he was named one of the top five non-Power 5 athletic directors by Stadium, based on the success of head coaching hires in football and men’s basketball.
While at Arkansas State for eight-plus years, Mohajir’s accomplishments included:
- Creating new policies, producing record-breaking fundraising totals, overseeing significant facility upgrades, almost tripling the athletics budget and implementing creative philosophies that strengthened the Red Wolves’ national brand, as part of a series of sweeping changes--as Arkansas State enjoyed unprecedented overall success academically, competitively and financially.
- The school’s football team winning four Sun Belt championships and playing in a bowl game every year in his eight seasons. Overall, the Red Wolves won 25 conference titles in all sports during Mohajir’s tenure.
- More than $90 million in facility enhancements, including a new premium football seating area, new tennis courts, a new outdoor track and a state-of-the-art operations center for all student-athletes that houses locker rooms, a weight room, training area, lounge plus offices for coaches. The operations center was funded entirely with $29 million in private money.
- Arkansas State student-athletes consistently achieved school-record grade-point averages, culminating with a Sun Belt-leading 3.211 GPA in 2019-20.
- A series of standout coaching hires, including current Auburn head football coach Bryan Harsin, current Utah State head football coach Blake Anderson, as well as Butch Jones who became Arkansas State head football coach in December 2020.
- Establishment of a variety of leadership and professional development programs for student-athletes, including creative offerings such as faculty-led study-abroad opportunities.
The 25 conference titles won by Red Wolves teams during Mohajir’s tenure included four in football, three each in men’s indoor track and field and women’s cross country, two each in volleyball, men’ outdoor track and field, women’s bowling, women’s basketball, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field—and one each in men’s basketball, men’s golf and women’s soccer. Those 25 championships over nine years are 13 more than Arkansas State won the previous 12 years from 2000-11 combined. The Sun Belt recognized Arkansas State as winner of its 2019-20 Vic Bubas Cup, the league’s annual all-sports championship award. Eight different Red Wolves coaches during Mohajir’s years were named either Sun Belt coach of the year or national coach of the year a combined 20 times.
The Red Wolves Foundation annual fund and premium seating revenue increased by as much as 184 percent under Mohajir, while capital facilities fundraising also reached an all-time high. The Arkansas State Lettermen’s Club saw membership increase 205 percent from 2012-21. Arkansas State set school records for both football total season-ticket sales and season-ticket revenue.
Arkansas State placed among the top 12 programs in the nation in five consecutive Excellence in Management Cup standings—in annual reviews of the nation’s athletics departments in regard to maximizing fiscal resources while providing results in the form of championship victories. Mohajir also negotiated lucrative, long-term agreements with both Learfield Sports and adidas.
Mohajir previously was senior associate athletic director for external relations at the University of Kansas in 2011-12 and senior associate director of athletics for external relations at Florida Atlantic University in 2004-11. He served as assistant director of athletics for external relations at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1997-2004 and was assistant offensive line and game-day special teams coach with Kansas football in 1993-97.
Mohajir worked at Kansas in a variety of capacities during two different stints. His most recent stop saw him assume responsibility for the Williams Education Fund that totaled more than $22 million in revenue for fiscal year 2012. He supervised athletics areas that generated more than $40 million in revenue, including a multimedia rights partnership with IMG.
His position at Florida Atlantic allowed him oversight of 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. During his tenure, Florida Atlantic's athletics department enhanced its major gift program 800 percent, Owl Club giving increased 400 percent and special-events revenue increased 150 percent.
His administrative position with the newly-created Division I UMKC athletics program saw him supervise marketing and promotions, sports information, fundraising, radio and TV contracts, corporate sales, tickets, event operations, sports medicine, strength and conditioning and men's soccer.
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 ninth in the Associated Press?poll. He was also a football ticket sales and promotions account executive.
Mohajir earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management with a minor in business marketing from Arkansas State in 1993 and a master’s degree in sports management/psychology from Kansas in 1997. He was a starting safety on Arkansas State’s football team from 1990-92—including the Red Wolves’ first season competing at the Division I/Football Bowl Subdivision level in 1992.
The Overland Park, Kansas, product was named UCF’s vice president and director of athletics on Feb. 9, 2021.
Mohajir is married to the former Julie Hammond and they are parents of three children—Maria (a student at Temple), Molly and Marco.
Terry Mohajir Through the Years
|1993-97||University of Kansas||Assistant Offensive Line Coach/Game Day Special Teams Coach|
|1997-2004||University of Missouri-Kansas City||Assistant Director of Athletics/External Events|
|2004-11||Florida Atlantic University||Senior Associate Athletics Director/External Relations|
|2011-12||University of Kansas||Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Chief Marketing Officer|
|2012-21||Arkansas State University||Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics|
|2021-Present||University of Central Florida||Vice President/Director of Athletics|