Tuesday morning the University of Arizona community was introduced to new Athletic Director Desire Reed-Francois at a media conference, where she took the time to reflect on her ties to the university. A College of Law alum, Reed-Francois says she’s ready to give back to a community to which she’s grateful.

“It’s my privilege and my duty to give back and help guide the athletic department forward,” Reed-Francois said at the conference.


New Arizona Athletic Director Reed-Francois on the UA: “It’s home” Retired UA Deputy of Athletics Rocky Larose on Desiree Reed-Francois

After the media conference, I spoke one-on-one with Arizona women’s basketball head coach Adia Barnesherself an Arizona alumwho tells me she’s thrilled with the hire.

Here’s our conversation:

Adia Barnes: “I’m very excited. I’ve heard so many great things about her. But just her presence and getting to know her the last couple of days, she’s going to lead this department great. A very powerful, strong womanso it’s great for all the women here, especially.”

Pat Parris: “And it’s a difficult time, obviously, financially. Things are changing so quickly. To have somebody who’s had such great success a Mizzou come here now to kind of carry that model to the University of Arizona.”

AB: “Definitely, I think to have that experience, and has that track record, who’s been there and done that, is very valuable. As a head coach, NIL is so important. We know what the SEC does, they lead it and they’re the best at it. It’s hard to compete with that. So, I think that just her bringing that experience and excitement and the belief in NIL, is huge because the bottom line is we don’t win with that. When you have a president and athletic director that understand that, it helps you win more games. That’s the reality of our sports now.”

PP: “The meeting you all had yesterday with her must have gone very well. What was the take away with your other colleagues?”

AB: “So we had two meetings, like a head coaches internal meeting. It went great. We were able to ask questions in an intimate setting. Then we had an all-staff department meeting. I think her heart is here. You could feel that. That’s what Arizona is about. My heart is here, I came back. Erika Barnes, all of us that have played here, it means a little bit more and it’s more special. So I think you then are more invested. I think also just the leadership and her presence and just the way she speaks, I think we’re all so excited. I walked out of there like ‘yeah let’s go!'”