Missouri Tigers hire UNLV's Desiree Reed-Francois as school's first female athletic director

Missouri has hired UNLV's Desiree Reed-Francois as its next athletic director, the school announced on Sunday.

Reed-Francois, who has led UNLV's athletic department since 2017, will replace Jim Sterk, who announced last month that he would step down once a replacement is found. The 49-year-old Reed-Francois, a former rower at UCLA, will become the first female athletic director in Missouri history, and the second in SEC history following Vanderbilt's Candice Storey Lee.

"This is a transformational day for Mizzou Athletics," Missouri president Mun Choi said. "Desiree Reed-Francois brings an unsurpassed passion for student-athletes and bold, visionary skills that will propel a championship culture at MU."

She had been a candidate for several Power 5 athletic director vacancies in recent years, including at UCLA in 2020 and Northwestern earlier this year. Before coming to UNLV, Reed-Francois oversaw Virginia Tech's football program as a deputy athletic director. She also held assistant athletic director roles at Tennessee, Fresno State and other schools.

Sterk has led Missouri's athletic department since 2016, and hired football coach Eliah Drinkwitz in 2019.