/ Modified feb 19, 2024 4:36 p.m.

UA announces new athletic director

Desireé Reed-Francois is a UA alumna who is currently AD at the University of Missouri.

Desireé Reed-Francois The University of Arizona announced Monday that Desireé Reed-Francois would be its new athletic director.

The University of Arizona has announced Desireé Reed-Francois will be its new athletic director.

"Desireé Reed-Franco is no doubt is the right person to lead Arizona Athletics at this critical junction in our history," UA President Robert Robbins said in a video to students, staff and faculty. "I'm thrilled to welcome her, and we are deeply appreciative that she will join our community."

Reed-Francois is a graduate of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, and was previously the athletic director at the University of Missouri and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Terms of Reed-Francois' contract were not disclosed by the university, but the Arizona Daily Star reports she will receive a five-year deal, starting at $1 million annually and escalating to $1.25 million by the fifth year.

She replaces Dave Heeke, who was fired in January amidst department financial issues. He remains on the university's payroll through March of 2025.

Those issues come at a time when the university as a whole is confronting financial issues.

Robbins stressed Reed-Francois' acumen with finances and fundraising multiple times during his video message.

"Desireé also knows how to lead a modern athletics department efficiently and effectively, balancing budgets and increasing philanthropic support along the way. And importantly, she is respected nationally for her passion and commitments to supporting student athletes," he said.

Robbins mentioned that Reed-Francois secured the largest gift in the history of University of Missouri Athletics.

Arizona Athletics has yet to fully repay the $55 million it borrowed from the university during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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