I have learned throughout my career there are plenty of personalities in sports. When I sit down and talk shop with Arkansas State Athletic Director Terry Mohajir, he's always candid with me and never shies away form the tough question.
Tonight Mohajir was my Live guest, and there was no editing with the answers. I asked tough questions, and as always, I got honest answers.
On Saturday, A-State will play a home game for the first time since November 12, 2016. It's been a while.
The fan base is hungry, the team is chomping at the bit to take the field.
But Saturday's opponent, Arkansas-Pine Bluff is an FCS school, an in-state opponent nonetheless, so why play them?
Terry Mohajir: "Very important to us. If we are going to play an FCS opponent, we should try and rotate with UCA and UAPB and I think it's important to keep the money in-state. We have to pay somebody to come play us and I think to redistribute that revenue back into the state is real important to us."
Recently, University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long was quoted as saying the following, when asked about playing an in-state school.
"You know when I first got here, I thought this is crazy, absolutely we should be playing theses schools, but I didn't say anything because I was smart enough then to sit and listen to make sure I understood what the feelings are in the state of Arkansas. I'm not from here, so I needed to listen and learn and I did. And I overwhelmingly, the message I received from Razorback fans is don't divide the state, continue the policy, so that's what I've done," Long said.
I shared that quote with Mohajir and he had the following to say.
"That's his opinion, I don't think so. I think the fact you play someone or the notion you play someone and in-state it creates a divide is not really accurate. I think what creates a divide is your level of production. If you produce at a high level you get more fans, if you produce at a low level you get less fans. I'm talking about us, last year we played UCA and they beat us, deservingly so, played a good game, and you know what, we didn't lose one fan. Our recruiting class was still really good, and we ended up winning the conference and having a nice season so it's about your production,"Mohajir said.
A-State will hold their home opener this week, because the Miami game was canceled due to the threat of Hurricane Irma.
A lot of work went into making the final decision and creating options. I asked Mohajir to give us some insight to what that process was like.
"It's just a matter of getting on the phone and working the phones and trying to convey the right message to everyone. You're going to make someone upset, but you're trying to be as candid and forthcoming as possible and I think we did that and even then made a bunch of Miami fans because they didn't think I was sensitive enough even though I've lived through hurricanes down when I lived in South Florida. Tried to be as sensitive as I possibly can but also wanted our fan base along with other fans that were coming in, Miami fans in particular were coming in from other parts of the country to know that we did everything we can to have the game and the fact they decided not to have the game is a decision they had to make. I accepted it, didn't question the decision, my job as the host institution was to try and provide as many opportunities to play the game as possible, and I feel like we did that."
On Saturday, you'll find Mohajir, a former A-State player cheering on the Red Wolves. He even cracked a joke to demonstrate his passion for the Red Wolves. "I wish I could put the uniform back on, wouldn't help the team any but wish I could put the uniform back on."