University of Missouri President Mun Choi announced Sunday that Desiree Reed-Francois, athletics director at UNLV, has been named Athletic Director for the university.
“This is a transformational day for Mizzou Athletics,” Choi said. “Desiree Reed-Francois brings an unsurpassed passion for student-athletes and bold, visionary skills that will propel a championship culture at MU. As a proud member of the SEC, we are energized to go into the next era of Mizzou athletics with Desiree Reed-Francois at the helm.”
“It is truly an honor to join Missouri’s flagship institution, and I am extremely grateful to search committee Chair Layman and members of the search advisory committee for this incredible opportunity,” said Reed-Francois. “The University of Missouri is a world-class academic institution with a strong commitment to athletics, and a resolve to further enhance its athletics programs to achieve elite national status is all of our endeavors. We have a proud and storied tradition; we compete in the premier athletic conference in the country; and, perhaps most importantly, we have a collective desire to be great. My family and I are excited to join the Mizzou Family, and I cannot wait to get started. Go Tigers!”
“Desiree brings a variety of quality experiences to student-athletes as a leader on many campuses and in many conferences,” said Greg Sankey, commissioner of the SEC. “As she continues to build the University of Missouri athletics program, I look forward to working with her in her new role as we continue the progress of the SEC – the strongest conference in the country.”
While at UNLV, Reed-Francois has hired head coaches in men’s and women’s basketball, football, women’s soccer, softball, volleyball, and women’s track and field, with three of them already earning Conference Coach of the Year honors.
UNLV football was 13-29 during Reed-Francois’ tenure, 8-22 in conference play. The Rebels men’s basketball team compiled a record of 66-57 under two different head coaches.
Reed-Francois oversaw the opening of a new, $35 million football complex and successfully negotiated a joint use agreement with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders for UNLV’s use of the new $2 billion Allegiant Stadium. During her time at UNLV, she has completed or implemented more than $70 million in facility upgrades.
She also has proven fundraising skills, with UNLV Athletics raising more than $60 million, including an $8 million estate gift, the largest estate gift in the school’s history. Mizzou is coming off a record year of fundraising for their Tiger Scholarship Fund under outgoing A.D. Jim Sterk. During her time at UNLV, football season ticket sales and premium revenue has jumped by 50% and 70% respectively, and Reed-Francois introduced a new apparel agreement with Nike, all with a focus on creating a strong fiscal foundation for the business operations of UNLV Athletics.
Prior to UNLV, Reed-Francois served as the deputy athletics director at Virginia Tech and as a senior associate athletics director at the University of Cincinnati, in addition to stints at the University of Tennessee, where she was the first woman to oversee men’s basketball in the SEC, California State University-Fresno, Santa Clara University, San Jose State University, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of San Francisco.
Reed-Francois worked under Whit Babcock at Virginia Tech. Babcock spent five years at the University of Missouri, where he served as the executive associate director of athletics. Below is an interview with Babcock after the hiring of Reed-Francois at UNLV which will provide you with insight on her work accomplishments.
The University of Missouri board will meet on Tuesday to approve the contract. An introductory press conference will be held in coming days.