Desireé Reed-Francois hasn’t even been on the job for two full years yet.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Still, her bosses at Missouri have seen enough to want to keep their athletic director on the job for an increasingly long term.
The university announced Thursday that Reed-Francois’ contract has been extended for a year, through June of 2028. Other contract details were not immediately available.
“Through her innovation and tireless work, AD Reed-Francois has transformed Mizzou Athletics. She is building a championship culture that we have been seeking,” MU president Mun Choi said in a news release. “Her devotion to our student-athletes and coaches is unsurpassed. We look forward to incredible successes under her leadership.”
Reed-Francois took over the AD job in August of 2021, coming over from Nevada Las-Vegas, where she worked in the same role. The crown jewel of her tenure with the Tigers so far has been the hiring of Dennis Gates as head coach of the men’s basketball program.
The team had won just 12 games during the 2021-22 campaign, when Reed-Francois decided to make a change. She brought in Gates from Cleveland State, and Missouri earned its first ever double-bye in the SEC tournament and went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his first season in charge.
“When Desireé was hired, we wanted someone who had a vision of Mizzou Athletics as a place where fans and student-athletes have an amazing experience, citizens are proud of the program and we compete for championships. She is making that happen,” UM board of curators chair Michael Williams said in the release “In less than two years, Mizzou’s fans are excited and breaking attendance records in many of our sports. It’s amazing to see how her leadership has brought our student-athletes, our fans and our broader university community together.”
Other highlights of Reed-Francois’ tenure included hiring Dawn Sullivan as volleyball head coach and Caroline Westrup to lead women’s golf. She also oversaw the ongoing construction of an indoor football practice facility and saw MU through the ongoing changes in college sports related to name, image and likeness compensation for athletes.
Reed-Francois received a salary bump to go with the extension. She will receive $1.25 million annually, up from $800,000, and her deferred compensation, which she can receive at the end of the contract, jumped from $150,000 to $250,000 per year.
“I’m extremely appreciative of the support and investment in athletics from our Board of Curators and President Choi,” Reed-Francois said in the release. “This is a reflection of the incredible work of our team over the last eighteen months, along with the dedication of a passionate fan base. It is an honor to serve our state’s flagship institution and our 550 student-athletes as we strive for excellence and continue building on the great momentum surrounding Mizzou Athletics.”
The Star has partnered with the Columbia Daily Tribune for coverage of Missouri Tigers athletics.