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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Mohajir's legacy will endure in Jonesboro

by Wally Hall | February 10, 2021 at 3:19 a.m.

It was not surprising that Terry Mohajir moved up in the world of college athletics.

Less than a week after the announcement of the historic football game between the University Arkansas and Arkansas State University, the Red Wolves athletic director was hired for the same position at the University of Central Florida.

The scheduling of that game had nothing to do with him getting such a high-profile job, but he long will be remembered for his three years of talks with UA Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek.

Mohajir landed on the UCF radar because of his accomplishments at a mid-level school.

He played football for Arkansas State and became the athletic director in 2012. What he has done with the facilities is beyond amazing. The facilities are better than some programs in the Power 5.

A total of $90 million of renovations was completed on his watch. That's probably a big reason he was hired at UCF, which is nicknamed Under Construction Forever because of its continued growth.

He also excelled at finding good football coaches who were so successful at ASU that they moved up to bigger jobs.

UCF's football coach Josh Heupel left last week to join his former AD, Danny White, at Tennessee.

Rumors had been pretty heavy that Mohajir was in the running for the UCF job, which led to speculation on some websites that Gus Malzahn might be in the running for the head football job at UCF.

However, Mohajir came to ASU nine months after Malzahn was hired. Their paths crossed for three months during the Red Wolves' 10-3 2012 campaign, then the Gus Bus was off to Auburn after one season.

Malzahn coached eight seasons at Auburn, compiling a 68-35 overall record and 39-27 in SEC play. He was fired in December, but he got $10 million within the first 30 days and is owed another $10 million by Auburn.

No doubt Mohajir has a short list of candidates to interview, and he's the only one who knows who is on that list.

UCF fans wasted little time finding TikTok clips of Mohajir dancing, which won them over because he is obviously social-media savvy and a pretty good dancer.

Mohajir also was named to the College Football Playoff selection committee in 2019.

During his time at ASU, the athletic programs won a total of 25 championships, more than any other Sun Belt school.

After graduating from ASU, Mohajir (Mo-ha-jer) spent three years coaching at Kansas before turning his attention to administration.

He worked at Missouri-Kansas City, Florida Atlantic and Kansas before being named AD at ASU.

He did a great job for the Red Wolves, and this move to a bigger school with more money is well deserved.

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In its short existence, the annual All-Arkansas Preps banquet has become a huge success.

And not just for honoring athletes from almost every high school sport across the state but also for its Inspiration Awards.

The Hussman Community Award goes to an athlete who has served the community through volunteerism, and the CHI St. Vincent Health Award goes to an athlete who has overcome health issues to inspire the community.

The nomination process for those awards for the 2021 banquet is open. Members of a community, coach, parent, friend or church member can nominate an individual.

To do so, go to www.allarkansaspreps.com/inspiration-awards.

Ozzie Smith is this year's guest speaker for the June 19 ceremony and will present the awards to the winners.

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