If absolutely nothing else, Desiree Reed-Francois has impressive timing.
President Len Jessup revealed Reed-Francois as UNLV’s new sports director on April 17 to follow in the footsteps of Tina Kunzer-Murphy and take over sports just as the Rebels are a few brief years from taking the football field in a $1.9 billion NFL arena, supplemented by the advanced Fertitta Football Complex now in the works.
A day after the announcement, Reed-Francois took to the podium at a media conference with her other half, Joshua; son, Jackson; father, Don; mother Gloria Jean; sibling, Roman– and a luxurious Hey Reb! at the foot of the dais– searching.
“My first team was with my brother,” she stated. “When I was a little woman growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, Roman and I played every sport. I was a rower, but he was the real athlete. My brother and I, we dreamed of him being an expert football player. He was going to bet the San Francisco 49ers, and I was going to be his lawyer.
“In 1994 a football mishap changed our lives and it changed our dreams. Roman ended up being a quadriplegic playing football; however, the story doesn’t end there. It was the lessons we discovered in athletics of resiliency, decision, and a relentless competitive drive that triggered our dreams to take a various course. My dream became finding a method to assist other student-athletes accomplish theirs.”
Reed-Francois pertains to UNLV from Virginia Tech, where she has actually served as the deputy sports director to Whit Babcock, who also went to April 18’s press conference. She was in charge of everyday operations for 22 programs and more than 600 student-athletes.
Ticket, marketing, and licensing revenue was up more than 20 percent over the past two years under Reed-Francois’ eye, boosted by season ticket sellouts for Hokies football and big dives in presence for males’s and females’s basketball, baseball, soccer, and softball. She partnered on budget development, prepared the department’s facilities master plan, upgraded fundraising technique, and revitalized the university’s student-athlete success program.
“There’s a terrific sense of interest and momentum in the community and at UNLV,” Reed-Francois said. “College athletics have the special capability to educate, join, and motivate. Together, we will do all of that at UNLV and develop a champion culture that leads academically and athletically.”
With her consultation, effective June 1, Reed-Francois becomes the very first Hispanic female athletic director at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
Reed-Francois was a standout to the search committee, and Jessup was gushing in his praise for her experience and enthusiasm throughout the interview process.
As a research organization, Jessup stated, UNLV is rising through its Top Tier strategic strategy, “but a really fundamental part of the strategy is also making ourselves more powerful in the Mountain West (Conference) and, ultimately, positioning ourselves down the roadway for a relocate to a Power 5 conference. Athletics is part and parcel with the technique of where we’re opting for this institution.
“This hire of the brand-new sports director is certainly one of the most essential hires that I have actually participated in my two years. It is necessary for the whole university and the entire Rebel nation.”
While working under Babcock, Reed-Francois played a crucial role in hiring head football coach Justin Fuente, the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year. She likewise helped protect new coaches for ladies’s basketball, lacrosse, and volley ball.
Her prepare for UNLV is simple enough.
“Rather merely, we’re going to win.”