University of Missouri President Mun Choi announced on August 8, 2021, that Desiree Reed-Francois has been named as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for the university.
Reed-Francois has more than 25 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics and was the first Hispanic female and woman of color athletics director at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. She has served as athletic director at UNLV since 2017. At Missouri, she will be the first female athletic director in MU history and the first female athletic director in a public institution in the SEC.
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. The UNLV head coaching roster is the most diverse in its conference and among the most diverse in the FBS.
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. 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 earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a juris doctorate from the University of Arizona College of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of California and taught law classes at the University of Tennessee and at Santa Clara University. Prior to her work in college athletics, Reed-Francois worked as a legal associate for the Oakland Raiders and the NFL’s Management Council.
She also has participated in the Division I Athletics Directors Leadership Institute and Fellows Program, the Women Leaders in College Sports’ Executive Institute, and she currently serves as vice chair of the NCAA Baseball Selection Committee and formerly was a member of the College Football Playoff Committee’s operations committee. In addition, Reed-Francois is a board member of the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches. She is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators and National Association of College Directors of Athletics and has been a presenter at NACDA, NACMA, Women Leaders, and Sports Business Journal’s annual conventions.
She and her husband, Joshua, have a son, Jackson, who will be attending MU in Fall 2022 to study journalism.