New director of basketball operations is ready to build consistent winner


Sophie Hume

New director of basketball operations DJ Mocini.

DJ Mocini has lived and worked in Michigan for the majority of his life, so it was only fitting he end up at Oakland University. 

“This is kind of like a hidden gem that has a lot of potential for growth, not only from a basketball program standpoint, but from an athletics department and university wide standpoint,” Mocini said. “This is just such a phenomenal place to be, a phenomenal place to live and all those things together made it a very desirable job.”

Mocini, a native of Saugatuck, was named the new director of basketball operations on Oct. 8. He had a similar role before at Central Michigan University, but thinks he’ll bring a unique perspective to his new role thanks to his experience as an assistant coach.

“I think from a coaching standpoint I maybe have a little bit better understanding of what the goals of the job are, more so than somebody who has not had those experiences [of being an assistant coach],” Mocini said. “So I think those experiences make it a little bit easier to succeed in a role like this, because you know what is really needed from that position when you’re in the coaching role, and how much you can impact the program overall.”

Mocini spent the last eight seasons at CMU, where he started as Coordinator of Basketball Operations before being promoted into said assistant coaching role from 2019-21. Mocini was heavily involved in recruiting, academics, budget, fundraising and team travel during his time at CMU. From 2015 to 2019, the Chippewas advanced to postseason play four times, including a trip to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) during the 2014-15 season.

He said he still has hopes of being a head coach someday, but right now his focus is on Oakland, where he’ll be responsible for day-to-day operations — including travel, budgetary management, camps and donor relations. 

“To say that I’m still not chasing that dream would be a lie,” Mocini said. “Yes, it’s still very much on the forefront, but right now I think my focus really is just to learn as much as I can from Coach Kampe and his staff and to do whatever I can to help this program win.”

Mocini said Men’s Basketball Head Coach Greg Kampe was a big reason for him wanting this job.

“The most outward thing when you’re looking at a place like Oakland is the success that Coach Kampe has had,” Mocini said. “He’s one of the all-time winningest coaches, especially actively in the game. This guy’s done it for a long time. The wealth of knowledge he has, his leadership style — the whole thing is something that just kind of draws you to a place like this.”

Mocini said his overall goal is to “make the program the best it can possibly be.”

“[My goal] is really just doing whatever I can to help this program win, but also improve and sustain the winning,” he said. “So whether that’s with our budget, with fundraising, with team travel, with nutrition, whatever the case may be, that’s my job and I will do that to the best of my ability.”