UCF’s new athletic director promises success for student-athletes

‘We’ll differentiate ourselves from everyone else in the country,’ Terry Mohajir says

UCF hires Terry Mohajir as the new athletic director (Image: UCF) (Travis Clayton - A-State Creative Media)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A day after the University of Central Florida formally announced his hiring as athletic director, Terry Mohajir introduced himself to Knight Nation.

“There’s no better time to be here at UCF. I’m happy to serve Knight Nation,” Mohajir said Wednesday afternoon during a media briefing.

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Mohajir was most recently Arkansas State University’s vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics. Mohajir is also a graduate of ASU. He spoke highly of his former employer, even becoming emotional at times while talking about his accomplishments there.

“Before I charge on. I have to give wolves up and acknowledge the amazing people in Jonesboro, Arkansas,” Mohajir said before getting choked up. “We have achieved historic accomplishments. And I’m so proud of my alma mater. It will always be my school.”

The new athletic director also gave a little background on himself and his family. Mohajir is the son of an immigrant. His father came to the U.S. in the 1960s.

“He married my mom. He was from India. My mom was from Indiana, believe it, ya know, so it’s kind of funny,” Mohajir said. “He taught us about the value of education and the opportunities that we have in this American Dream. I’ve learned so much from him about what the American Dream is and how grateful we are to be in this wonderful country.”

Mohajir credited a football scholarship with his success when he was in school and his passion for college athletics today.

“The ability to get a scholarship to keep me disciplined and on track, that allowed me to see that I could use college athletics as a means to get to where I want to be.”

That notion of using college athletics to reach success was a big part of Mohajir’s pitch to Knight Nation in his introduction. He talked extensively about his goal of building up the school’s athletic program.

“We don’t build seasons. We don’t build teams, we build the program. Then, no matter who we hire as our head coach, in any sport, we’ll be successful,” Mohajir said.

His goals for the athletic program include 100% job or graduate school placement, something his previous school was able to achieve for six consecutive years.

“Why do we go to college? Get an education, get a degree and as an end result, you get a job, right. We get a job! Whether it be professional sports or something else but the end result is we get a job so we can support a family,” Mohajir said.

Despite stressing those goals, the new athletic director could not escape questions about hiring a replacement for UCF’s former head football coach Josh Heupel, who left for the University of Tennessee in January along with Mohajir’s predecessor.

“I’m going to go dark... next two or three days to do a lot of research, to look at a lot of videos,” Mohajir said. “So when I bring a candidate to (UCF’s President Dr. Alexander Cartwright), it’s somebody that I believe that we’re prepared to hire.”

Mohajir said he could not give an exact timeline on hiring a new head coach but said he hoped to find someone in the next month. However, he also stressed again that his ultimate focus was on the student-athletes.

“We can go on hire the best coaches we could possibly hire that are available, but at the end of the day, the kids in the locker room, the students in the locker rooms are the ones that win championships. It’s all about them.”

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.