University of Missouri Curator Daryl Chatman, left, and System President Mun Choi present new athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois with a jersey Wednesday after she was formally introduced at the Walsworth Family Columns Club.

20210811 033a Mu Athletic Director Reed Francois Press Conf

Report: Arizona set to name Desiree Reed-Francois new AD

Arizona is set to name Missouri athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois to the same position in Tucson, ESPN reported Monday.

Reed-Francois will sign a five-year contract with Arizona, per the report. She would replace 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 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.”

–Field Level Media

Mar 6, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; The Missouri Tigers Golden Girls perform during the first half of the game against the LSU Tigers at Mizzou Arena. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Missouri to hire Desiree Reed-Francois as AD

Missouri is in the process of hiring Desiree Reed-Francois as its new athletic director, according to multiple reports.

Reed-Francois has been athletic director at UNLV for the past four-plus years. She will replace Jim Sterk, who announced his resignation last month.

Reed-Francois, 49, will be the first woman AD at Missouri and, because of her Hispanic heritage, the first person of color in that role.

Reed-Francois recently signed a four-year extension at UNLV that runs through June 30, 2026. Published reports say the deal called for $420,000 in annual base salary.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sterk was making $700,000 in base salary.

Reed-Francois recently hired Kevin Kruger, son of Lon, as UNLV’s basketball coach.

–Field Level Media