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Desireé Reed-Francois

Arizona names Desireé Reed-Francois athletic director

Desireé Reed-Francois is one of top Latino leaders in college sports

Desireé Reed-Francois, one of the top Latinas in college athletics, is returning to her alma mater Arizona. She left her position as the University of Missouri athletics director to take the same job on the Tucson, Arizona, campus.

Reed-Francois earned her law degree from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law in 1997. She signed a five-year contract to lead the Wildcats. Pending board approval, she will earn $1 million in the first year with an increase in salary each subsequent year until she earns $1.2 million in the final year of the deal.

Desireé Reed-Francois will be officially introduced at a press conference on campus Tuesday morning. 

Coming home

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Desireé to the University of Arizona family, and we could not be more excited about the leadership experience and outstanding credentials she brings,” Arizona president Robert C. Robbins said in a statement. “Respected nationally for her commitment to student-athletes, Desireé has a history of success everywhere she’s served and is exactly the right person we need to modernize our athletics operations and usher in an ongoing culture of success in all aspects of Athletics. This is a tremendous win for our university and I cannot wait for her to get started.”


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She had served as Mizzou’s director of athletics since 2021. Before that, she was the AD at UNLV from 2017 to 2021. She has been considered among the top Latino leaders in sports for half a decade already.

Desireé Reed-Francois was credited with revitalizing the Mizzou football program, which was one of the best surprises in the Southeastern Conference last season. She also helped Mizzou land the Tigers’ largest donation in school history, which was $62 million.

Desireé Reed-Francois leaves Mizzou better

“There are very few institutions that would entice me to leave an SEC athletics department with strong momentum,” Reed-Francois said. “The University of Arizona has tremendous potential and is an institution — and an athletics program — on the rise, and I want to be a part of shaping that future. 

“We will provide a world-class student-athlete experience, which includes competing for championships and being among the nation’s elite. I am grateful to President Robbins and the Arizona Board of Regents for this incredible opportunity.”

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