Who is new Arizona Athletic Director Desireé Reed-Francois and what makes her a great hire?

Desireé Reed-Francois was hired as the University of Arizona's 11th Director of Athletics following a three-year stint at the University of Missouri. The Arizona law grad brings seven years of AD experience and over 20 years of athletic admin experience.

UNLV Announce Firing Of Men's Basketball Coach Marvin Menzies
UNLV Announce Firing Of Men's Basketball Coach Marvin Menzies / David Becker/GettyImages
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UNLV (2017-21)

Marvin Menzies, Desiree Reed-Francois
Nevada v UNLV / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Following her successes at Tennessee, Cincinnati, and especially Virginia Tech, UNLV tapped Reed-Francois to be the Athletic Director in 2017. Her hiring made her the first Hispanic woman and first woman of color to hold a full-time Athletic Director position at an FBS school; the first woman hired into an AD position came nearly 50 years ago. She also became UNLV's second consecutive female AD, replacing Tina Kunzer-Murphy.

Her first big move was made less than a year into her time at the helm when she secured a deal with Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders, to be the new permanent home of UNLV's football program. This move to an NFL-caliber domed grass stadium was a huge upgrade compared to the uncovered turf field that was Sam Boyd Stadium, the longtime home of the Rebels.

Her next move was to clean house, and she fired football head coach Tony Sanchez and men's basketball head coach Marvin Menzies, who were both underperforming severely.

Menzies was the first to go in March 2019 after compiling a 48-48 record and zero NCAA Tournament appearances in three seasons. Though the hire of T.J. Otzelberger didn't pan out entirely as hoped, the process makes sense: take a swing on a promising coach from a low-tier mid-major. Besides, he's found success with Iowa State since. Sanchez was next to go, getting the axe in November of that same year. He never won more than five games in his five seasons as UNLV's football coach and amassed a 20-40 record. Marcus Arroyo was hired as his replacement, and it went atrociously, but the process makes sense again here: swing on a promising young coordinator and former player who has great coaching connections and coached first-round pick-to-be Justin Herbert.

By the time her tenure in Las Vegas was complete, she had spearheaded over $70 million worth of athletic facility upgrades, football season ticket sales doubles, UNLV earned an $8 million dollar gift (the largest in the school's history), and she secured an apparel agreement for the Rebels with Nike.