JONESBORO — Arkansas State University may have to find a new leader for its athletic department.
Yahoo Sports reported Monday morning that Terry Mohajir, ASU’s vice chancellor of intercollegiate athletics, has been targeted by UCF to be its next athletic director. The report quoted sources who told Yahoo a deal was expected to be completed and announced within 24 hours.
ESPN followed with a report Monday evening quoting sources who said Mohajir has agreed to accept the UCF position. An effort to reach Mohajir for comment was unsuccessful as of press time Monday.
Mohajir, a former ASU football player who is on the College Football Playoff selection committee, has served his alma mater as athletic director since 2012. UCF is looking for an athletic director after the departure of Danny White, who was hired as Tennessee’s athletic director last month.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, White was paid $1.08 million as UCF athletic director. Mohajir receives an annual salary of $450,000, the state line item maximum, from ASU.
Mohajir’s contract with ASU runs through June 30, 2023. If he terminates the agreement during the 2020-21 fiscal year to accept a position with a university that is not a member of an Autonomy 5 conference, such as UCF, he would owe ASU liquidated damages of $500,000, according to the terms of his contract.
ASU has claimed 25 conference championships during Mohajir’s time as athletic director and won the Bubas Cup, the Sun Belt Conference’s all-sports trophy, for the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 academic year.
The university has also upgraded its football facilities significantly during Mohajir’s tenure.
The “Centennial Expansion” construction and renovation project to Centennial Bank Stadium’s press box and west concourse cost approximately $26 million. The north end zone project, which includes ASU’s athletic operations facility, cost approximately $29 million when it opened before the 2019 season. ASU also constructed the Student Activity Center, which serves as an indoor practice facility, for $11 million.
UCF’s next athletic director will have to hire a football coach since White hired Josh Heupel away from the Knights as Tennessee’s head coach. Mohajir has hired three head football coaches during his time at ASU – Bryan Harsin, Blake Anderson and, in December, Butch Jones.
In the past 10 years, UCF has played in the Fiesta Bowl twice and also the Peach Bowl. The school opened an on-campus football stadium in 2007.
In a 2020 USA Today study of college athletic finances, UCF’s total athletic revenue for 2018-19 was listed as $69.1 million while ASU’s was $35.5 million. ASU, which had an athletic budget of $15.3 million during Mohajir’s first year as athletic director, has an athletic budget of $35 million for 2020-21.
ASU defeated UCF when the teams met in the Cure Bowl at the end of the 2016 season. The Knights’ average home football attendance in 2019 was 43,788, the highest in the American Athletic Conference.
Last week Mohajir signed a contract for ASU’s first-ever football game with the University of Arkansas, a contest scheduled in September 2025 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.