UA hires its 1st female athletics director

Dr. Robert C. Robbins announces Desireé Reed-Francois as UA’s new athletics director

Desireé Reed-Francois bolts SEC to usher in Arizona’s arrival to the Big-12

TUCSON — Veteran intercollegiate athletics administrator Desireé Reed-Francois has been appointed the University of Arizona’s new Director of Athletics, pending approval by the Arizona Board of Regents, President Robert C. Robbins announced Monday. Reed-Francois currently serves as the Director of Athletics at the University of Missouri and will begin her tenure in Tucson on March 3.

The terms of the five-year contract include an annual base salary of $1 million in year one elevating to $1.2 million in year five, with an additional $250,000 annual contribution from the University of Arizona Foundation.

Reed-Francois is a UCLA grad where she participated in the sport of Crew. She did her law school work at UA’s James E. Rogers College of Law, graduating in 1997.

Reed-Francois has served as the Director of Athletics at the University of Missouri since 2021, raising the athletics program’s profile over the past several years to include a top 10 football program, she has overseen the department’s first budget surplus in six years; record-breaking successes in fundraising, including securing the largest gift in Missouri Athletics history of $62 million; and implementation of innovative Name Image Likeness (NIL) initiatives.

You can read more about UA’s new athletics leader over at

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David Kelly contributed to this story.