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Desiree Reed-Francois is the new Athletic Director... so what should her first priorities be?

Mizzou Links for August 10, 2021.

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Mizzou has its athletic director... now what?

The contract for new Mizzou athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois still isn’t finalized by the Board of Curators (though that should be happening in relatively quick fashion later today), but everything is a formality at this point. Mizzou has a new leader in the athletic department. Great news... so what does she do now?

Ben Frederickson at the Post-Dispatch has some ideas... including one that seems rather obvious:

Get supporters in seats. The biggest thing slowing Mizzou’s revenue sports (men’s basketball and football) recently is the lack of tickets sold, and the lack of bodies in the buildings.

Jim Sterk was a gifted fundraiser, but even he struggled at finding ways to close the gap in fan apathy (or rather fan distaste at buying tickets?) for football and basketball. Reed-Francois will definitely have to get fans invested quickly in order to hit the ground running.

Frederickson also pointed out the importance of sticking up for Mizzou in the coming SEC re-alignment talks. After all, Texas and Oklahoma aren’t going to want to make concessions for the Tigers.

If Mizzou does not want to become a basement dweller, it needs a leader who helps the department rise to the occasion. Specifically, Reed-Francois must make sure MU gets its best possible outcome in the divisional realignment or restructuring.

Not that it matters too much; Texas isn’t all that threatening these days.

In any case, one of the first items on Reed-Francois’ agenda will likely be to meet — and get on the same page as — Eli Drinkwitz. According to Eric Blum at the Tribune, Drinkwitz is looking not only at how Reed-Francois can elevate his program, but how his program can elevate the entire Mizzou profile.

“It’s what I can do for them and as part of fitting in their vision for our athletics department and how do we work together to achieve the goals,” Drinkwitz said of the incoming athletic director. “... Hopefully we just raise that standard of what we’re trying to accomplish within the athletic department, within our football program. And I look forward to partnering with her in doing that.”

As the new AD steps in, Drinkwitz was also direct in his praise to outgoing AD Jim Sterk, thanking him for bringing him to Mizzou (about that...) and for securing sought after improvements to the football facilities.

What would be your priorities for the new AD? Let us know in the comments.

Yesterday at Rock M

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