UNLV said goodbye to athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois after four years as she accepted the athletic director position at the University of Missouri. She was the first Hispanic athletic director at a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school when originally hired by the Rebels in 2017.
Reed-Francois continues to pioneer a successful career as she becomes Missouri’s first female director of athletics, as well as the first to oversee an athletic department at a public school in the Southeastern Conference.
Three months ago, Reed-Francois signed a four-year extension to her contract with the Rebels that would have run through 2026. UNLV officials and Reed-Francois have not responded for any comments at this time.
Reed-Francois graduated from UCLA in 1994 before earning a law degree from Arizona in 1997. Shortly after she began her career in athletic administration starting at the University of California.
Before joining UNLV, she made other stops at San Jose State, Santa Clara, Fresno State, San Francisco, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Virginia Tech, where she was one of the four women to oversee football at the Power Five level.
With Reed-Francois at the top of athletics, the Rebels were able to win conference championships in women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming, women’s track and field, and women’s volleyball.
Even with all the success from the Rebels, the men’s basketball program missed the NCAA Tournament in all four years with her leadership, and the football program only won 13 games with a 0-6 record for the 2020 shortened season.
Academically, UNLV’s student-athletes thrived, accumulating a collective GPA of 3.0 or higher in seven consecutive semesters. Post-graduate employment increased from 50 to 75 percent.
Reed-Francois will be missed by the Rebels as she moves on to Missouri to keep up her excellent leadership and help more student-athletes reach their full potential.
“This is a transformational day for Mizzou Athletics,” Missouri President Mun Y. Choi said in a statement. “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.”
UNLV continues it’s search for a new athletic director who can reunite the community and shine some light on the top two highest profile and top revenue-producing programs that have been struggling to win.