How good has the Desiree Reed-Francois era been?

Desiree Reed-Francois has received an extension that will keep her as the UNLV athletic director through 2026. She had one year left on her original contract.

After being hired in April of 2017, Reed-Francois has hired seven coaches to varying level of success.

The most notable are her two hires in men’s basketball. T.J. Otzelberger lasted just two seasons before bolting for Iowa State. He left after a 29-30 record, and his assistant Kevin Kruger was hired to replace him.

Marcus Arroyo was Reed-Francois’ football hire. He has had one pandemic ruined season. But he went 0-6 in 2020.

The two highest profile jobs have produced a combined 29-36 record. That is not good. Reed-Francois inherited unsuccessful basketball and football programs, so this is not entirely her fault. But she has not fixed them yet either.

The smaller sports have seen success thanks to Reed-Francois. Her volleyball hire Dawn Sullivan had an undefeated regular season and a trip to the NCAA Tournament this season.

Lindy La Rocque guided the Lady Rebels to the second best record in the Mountain West in her first season.

Kristie Fox was hired after UNLV softball posted a 25-27 record in 2017. Under Fox, the Rebels have gone 113-50 (69.3%) in four seasons.

And after a 6-13-1 season by the UNLV women’s soccer team in 2019, Jenny Ruiz posted a 5-4-1 record in her first season.

Reed-Francois’ has made tremendous hires, so there is reason to think Kruger and Arroyo will work out as well.


Reed-Francois will make $420,000 per year with this new extension, a raise from $350,000. Plus, she can earn bonuses for how her teams perform on the field and in the classroom.

— If the annual GPA of all student athletes is 3.0: $15,000

— If the graduation success rate is 80%: $10,000

— If the football team wins (or ties) for a regular season conference title: $15,000

— If the football team wins the conference championship game: $5,000

— If the football team appears in a bowl game: $10,000 

— If the men’s or women’s basketball team makes the NCAA Tournament: $10,000

— For each round the men’s or women’s basketball team advances in the NCAA Tournament: $10,000

— If the men’s or women’s basketball team makes the Final Four: $10,000

— If the men’s or women’s basketball team wins the national title: $15,000

— If any other team makes the NCAA Tournament: $2,500

— For every round any other team advances in the NCAA Tournament: $2,500

— If any other team wins the national championship: $2,500

It is telling that the highest bonus Reed-Francois can receive is $15,000 and she gets that for a basketball national championship, a football conference title or a 3.0 GPA. If you ever wondered why Reed-Francois touts the academic success of her department, there is a monetary incentive for her.

While it isn’t as exciting as a football or basketball coach contract, Reed-Francois does have a buyout. 

First, if UNLV fires Desiree Reed-Francois, they will owe her the remaining salary on her deal minus $50,000 per year. Simply, if UNLV fired Reed-Francois with a year left on her contract, they would owe her $370,000. 

But if Reed-Francois leaves UNLV prior to the contract’s end date, she would have to pay the school. 

If she leaves between May 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, Reed-Francois would owe UNLV $500,000. And a departure between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023 would land UNLV $250,000. 

If Reed-Francois leaves any time after June 30, 2023, she would have to pay UNLV $100,000. 

She has been linked to multiple power five jobs in the last 12 months. She withdrew her name from consideration for the UCLA job last May. And has been linked to the Northwestern and Kansas job, though her interest level in those two jobs have not been confirmed. 

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