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College Athletics Leadership: Perspectives from Mizzou’s New Athletics Director Desiree Reed-Francois
7/22/2022 - 7/22/2022
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Event Description

Desiree Reed-Francois is the first female collegiate athletic director at a public institution in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as well as the first Hispanic female and woman of color athletics director at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. Her experiences as a student-athlete rowing crew at UCLA inform the championship culture she focuses on building for and with student-athletes at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Over a lifetime that started the same year that Title IX laws were enacted, Reed-Francois has broken down a series of barriers encountered during 25-plus year in college athletics. Since becoming Mizzou’s first female athletic director in 2021, she has initiated several prominent organizational hires, enhancements to guests’ gameday experiences and the implementation of Black & Gold Fridays across Missouri.

Reed-Francois earned her law degree at the University of Arizona College of Law, and taught law at both the University of Tennessee and Santa Clara University. She worked as a legal associate for the Oakland Raiders and the NFL’s Management Council before shifting to a career in college athletics. Her collegiate athletics career has taken her to several California universities, University of Tennessee, University of Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and, most recently, four years as director of athletics at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She built a head coaching roster at UNLV that is the most diverse in the Mountain West Conference.

In Las Vegas, Reed-Francois also oversaw the completion and opening of a $35 million football training complex and successfully negotiated a joint-use agreement with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders at the new $2-billion Allegiant Stadium. She also completed or implemented more than $70 million in facility upgrades. An adept fundraiser, Reed-Francois led a $60 million development drive during her tenure, including an $8 million estate gift, the largest estate gift in the school’s history. Football season ticket sales and premium revenue jumped by 200% and 70% respectively.

Registration will close on July 18 in accordance with venue policy.