Virginia Tech Athletics Department
Jamerson Athletic Center
25 Beamer Way
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Desiree Reed-Francois fills a critical role for Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock, overseeing the football program and the day-to-day operations of the external team, which includes ticketing services, marketing and promotions, HokieVision, strategic communications, graphic design/publications, corporate development, and IMG, as well as having oversight of sports medicine.
Reed-Francois followed Babcock to Tech in May of 2014 after serving as Babcock’s Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at the University of Cincinnati. She served as the interim AD at Cincinnati for five months after Babcock left to take the same position at Tech, making her the first Hispanic female (interim) AD at the FBS level.
“She earned my trust and respect at Cincinnati and did an outstanding job leading and enhancing all of the external units of the department along with successfully collaborating with our coaches, staff and university administration,” Babcock said in announcing her hire. “Desiree believes in creating ‘memorable experiences’ for our fans, students, donors and alumni and will bring tremendous energy, organization, creativity and work ethic to the department. She will help move Virginia Tech forward and will be an asset to our program and overall vision.”
Coming to Tech as the Executive Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator, Reed-Francois received a promotion to Deputy Athletics Director in June of 2016. A 2009 graduate of the Division I Athletics Director Institute, she is among an elite group of Power Five female administrators who have ascended to the role of Deputy AD.
She is also among an even more exclusive group of women who oversee the day-to-day operations of a nationally prominent FBS football program. Along with Babcock, she played a pivotal role in the hiring of head coach Justin Fuente to succeed Frank Beamer.
“I lean on her for advice and counsel often and she is an executive leader of our department in her own right,” Babcock said. “She has my trust and respect. She does a wonderful job for the Hokies.
“Thanks to her steadfast approach and commitment, we have developed a very collaborative culture in athletics and an enhanced commitment to excellence across the board. She has made a very positive impact on our department and our student-athletes, while strengthening our relationships on campus and across the country. We are very fortunate that Desiree is leading so many aspects of our team at Virginia Tech.”
“I am humbled by the trust and responsibility that Whit has placed in me,” Reed-Francois said. “But this is truly a team effort and I’m grateful for the many talented individuals who have all been part of the positive momentum that we are collectively building. Whit has been a tremendous mentor and example for us all. I appreciate his continued leadership and his support of our work as we seek to uphold and exceed the very high standards of Virginia Tech.”
As a former NCAA Division I student-athlete herself – she was a member of the UCLA rowing team – Reed-Francois brings a unique perspective to her post and has been a staunch advocate of making the student-athlete and fan experience at Virginia Tech even better. She and her respective units have listened to feedback from coaches, students, ticket-holders, donors and many other groups to more effectively and authentically engage a wide array of Virginia Tech stakeholders. Their efforts have recently been recognized for national awards by the National Association of Collegiate Diretors of Athletics (NACDA), National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA), College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and Information Display and Entertainment Association (IDEA).
Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, Reed-Francois oversaw the football, women’s basketball and volleyball programs at Cincinnati in addition to the sports communications, marketing and promotions and video services and production departments. She also led the department’s strategic planning initiatives and assisted in management of external partnerships.
Prior to working at Cincinnati, Reed-Francois spent four years (2008-12) at the University of Tennessee, where she advanced from associate AD for strategic initiatives to senior associate AD for strategic planning and initiatives.
During her more than 19 years in intercollegiate athletics administration, Reed-Francois has occupied positions at the University of California, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Fresno State and the University of San Francisco. Prior to that, she held numerous positions of progressive leadership, including working as a legal associate for the Oakland Raiders and serving in a similar position with the NFL’s Management Council.
A 1994 graduate of UCLA, Reed-Francois earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona College of Law. She is a member of the California Bar, taught law classes at Tennessee and Santa Clara University and is involved on the national level, serving as a Division I-A Fellow, chairing the ACC Professional Development Committee and presenting at the NACDA Mentoring Institute and the NACWAA annual meeting. Reed-Francois was recently recognized by College AD’s panel of athletic directors as one of the 2016’s NEXT UP, which recognizes senior level administrators whom respected AD’s believe are ready to take the next step and become athletic directors in their own right.
Reed-Francois lives in Blacksburg with her husband, Joshua, and son, Jackson.