Out of all the things that are to be expected of a university athletic director during the opening of his or her tenure, living in a student dorm surely isn’t one of them.
Then again, Desiree Reed-Francois may not be any ordinary athletic director.
In just her first month as athletic director at UNLV, Reed-Francois has made it very clear that understanding her students is one of her top priorities. How has she done this? According to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY Sports, Reed-Francois elected to move into one of the school’s dormitories to acclimate herself to the atmosphere of her students.
“It’s been really interesting to get to know our students and when I met with a couple of recruits and their guardians, I was able to speak first-hand about what it’s like to live in a dorm,” Reed-Francois said. “When I first set out to do this I wanted to be a part of campus and get to know our student-athletes and get to know my campus colleagues, so what better way to do that than live in a dorm? It’s been a great experience.”
Reed-Francois isn’t putting up a front, either. She has begun to meet each of her 246 staff members individually, according to Wolken, as well as paying the $30 daily dorm fee out of pocket.
The reason for the living arrangement, Reed-Francois says, is to help her understand the current resources at the university so that she can examine how they can improve from an athletic perspective.
“The job of any leader is to create an environment for our student-athletes to be successful and one way to do that is analyze our resources,” Reed-Francois said. “I’ve been spending time getting to know our budget and figuring out where there’s opportunity for growth. While I can’t outspend some of my colleague institutions, our winning edge is going to be our people, and Las Vegas is a dynamic place it seems unlike any other college town I’ve lived in. There’s plenty of entertainment options, but there’s only one university here in Las Vegas with Div. 1 sports and my goal is to build on the history we have here and make sure Las Vegas and the Rebels are synonymous.”
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Source: The Score