Arkansas State is hiring Tom Bowen as its next athletic director, sources close to the process told CBS Sports. Bowen, the former AD at Memphis, will replace Terry Mohajir, who left Arkansas State last month to take the same job at UCF just two months after hiring Butch Jones to be the Red Wolves' new football coach.
Bowen will be introduced at a press conference scheduled for Thursday.
By hiring Bowen, Arkansas State is landing a proven administrator who helped shepherd a football program in the same geographical footprint. When Bowen arrived at Memphis in 2012, the Tigers had a won combined five games in their last three seasons. Under Bowen's leadership of the athletic department, Memphis football blossomed into one of the top Group of Five programs. Bowen also served as athletic director at San Jose State from 2004-12.
The situation Bowen will inherit at Arkansas State with a recently hired football coach in place is similar to what he took over at Memphis in 2012, although ASU's program has been much more successful recently. When Bowen was introduced at Memphis, football coach Justin Fuente had been hired just four months earlier. Bowen worked well with Fuente and also showed good hiring judgement when he landed Mike Norvell after Fuente left for Virginia Tech at the end of the 2015 season.
The Tigers ultimately made five straight bowl games -- a first for the program -- under Fuente and Norvell before Bowen's resignation in 2019.
Like Memphis, Arkansas State is in the midst of a strong football era that has seen it enjoy more success than the state's flagship SEC school over the past decade. The program made nine straight bowl appearances from 2011-19 under coaches Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn, Bryan Harsin and Blake Anderson. Following a 4-7 season in 2020, Anderson left for the Utah State job.
Though losing an athletic director and head coach in the same offseason is not ideal, Arkansas State has navigated transition successfully before, like when it cycled through Freeze, Malzahn and Harsin in a period of three seasons. With Jones as a proven Group of Five coach from his time at Central Michigan and Cincinnati and Bowen as a proven Group of Five administrator, the Red Wolves appear to have stabilized their operation by snagging a pair of veterans in those key spots.