UNLV President Len Jessup announced Tuesday that Desiree Reed-Francois has agreed to terms and will become the university’s athletics director, effective June 1.
Reed-Francois, current deputy athletics director at Virginia Tech, has more than two decades of leadership experience as an athlete, attorney and athletics administrator and is considered one of the industry’s rising stars.
At UNLV, she will oversee all aspects of the athletics program, including general operations, fiscal affairs, facilities, strategic planning and external relations. She will become the first Hispanic female athletics director at the FBS level.
“There’s a great sense of enthusiasm and momentum in the community and at UNLV, and I’m honored to join this university and work with our coaches, staff, and student-athletes to build on the solid foundation in place,” Reed-Francois said. “College athletics have the unique ability to educate, unite and inspire. Together, we will do all of that at UNLV and build a championship culture that leads academically and athletically.”
She served as second-in-command to the athletics director at Virginia Tech since 2014 and was responsible for external relations and day-to-day operations for 22 sports, more than 600 student-athletes and 14 facilities. An administrator with an eye toward balancing the complex external and internal facets of a Power Five athletics department, Reed-Francois partnered on budget development for all athletics units at Virginia Tech, prepared the department’s facilities master plan, redesigned fundraising strategy and revitalized the university’s student-athlete success program.
Under her leadership, overall ticket, marketing and licensing revenue rose by more than 20 percent the past two years, and the institution secured the largest corporate development gifts in program history. This included a season ticket sellout for football and marked attendance increases in men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, soccer and softball. She was one of just four women in the nation responsible for day-to-day operations of a Power Five football program and helped orchestrate the most-attended football game in history in 2016 when Virginia Tech and Tennessee met in front of more than 156,000 fans at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Working closely with Virginia Tech athletics director Whit Babcock, Reed-Francois was instrumental in the recruitment and hiring of current Hokies head football coach Justin Fuente (the reigning ACC Coach of the Year) and coaches for women’s basketball and lacrosse – all of which recently enjoyed or are in the midst of stellar seasons. She also led the search for recently hired first-year volleyball coach Jill Lytle Wilson.
Reed-Francois and husband Joshua have a son, Jackson.
— Courtesy of VT Athletics