New UNLV AD is Arizona law school grad, first female Hispanic to run program at FBS level

University of Arizona law school graduate Desiree Reed-Francois is UNLV’s new athletic director, agreeing to a five year deal that pays $350,000 annually.

Reed-Francois, 44, will become the first female Hispanic athletic director at the Football Bowl Subdivision level when she begins June 1. Her contract runs through June 30, 2022.

UNLV president Len Jessup, who earned his PhD in Management and Organizational Behavior at Arizona, signed off on Reed-Francois’ contract on Sunday. Jessup was also the dean of Arizona’s Eller College of Management from 2011 until his hire at UNLV in January 2015.

Reed-Francois’ contract ranks in the top half of the Mountain West. She comes to UNLV from Virginia Tech, where she served as the deputy athletic director.

“Desiree has tremendous depth of experience at the highest levels of college athletics and a clear vision for the future of Rebel athletics, and I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome her to UNLV,” Jessup said in a statement.

“She has shown the ability to manage the complex internal demands of a large Power Five athletics department while simultaneously energizing fans and supporters in all sports, and I’m confident she’ll successfully move UNLV athletics forward.”

A 1994 graduate of UCLA, Reed-Francois earned a Juris Doctorate from the Arizona College of Law.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

With the Arizona background of Jessup and Reed-Francois perhaps scheduling arrangements with the Wildcats can continue. The basketball and football programs have scheduled series of games within the last five to 10 years.

With the proposed 65,000-seat football stadium that will house the Raiders when they move to Las Vegas in 2020, it would make sense for Arizona to take part in the excitement over the building either by playing UNLV or have a showcase non-conference game because of the proximity to Tucson.

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