Arizona names Missouri’s Desiree Reed-Francois new AD

Field Level Media

February 19, 2024 at 11:03 pm.

Arizona named Missouri athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois to the same position in Tucson on Monday.

Reed-Francois signed a five-year contract with Arizona. She will make $1 million in the first year, with her base salary escalating to $1.2 million by Year 5. Her contract also includes incentives and retention bonuses.

“There are very few institutions that would entice me to leave an SEC athletics department with strong momentum,” Reed-Francois said in a statement. “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.”

Reed-Francois replaces Dave Heeke, who was fired last month after seven years and reportedly leaving the athletic department in dire straits.

Arizona is facing a deficit of $177 million, in part due to more than $80 million the athletics department has borrowed from the university, according to ESPN. Part of the issue was a $55 million loan received amid the COVID-19 pandemic that the university was having trouble paying off.

Reed-Francois, who graduated from Arizona law school in 1997, turned Missouri’s athletics operating deficit into a $15 million surplus in 2022, in part due to her fundraising prowess, per the report. Reed-Francois will also oversee Arizona’s transition from the Pac-12 to the Big 12 in the 2024-25 academic year.

Reed-Francois, 51, has been at Missouri since 2021 after working as the AD at UNLV from 2017-21.

Arizona fired Heeke one week after he hired Brent Brennan as the Wildcats’ football coach on Jan. 16 to replace Jedd Fisch, who left to take the Washington job.

According to the Action Network, Heeke was let go because of “financial & operational mismanagement, resulting in an athletic department financial ‘disaster,’ loss of major donors & mishandling of former (football) coach Jedd Fisch’s contract.”

Later Monday, Arizona signed men’s basketball coach Tommy Lloyd to a five-year extension.

ALL  |  NFL  |  College Football  |  MLB  |  NBA