She’s Here! Desiree is Here!
First off, apologies to our dear long-time Rock M commenter who shares the same name, as our new Athletics Director is going to be getting the top billing around here from here on out. And whereas Jim Sterk’s whole name just kinda rolled off the tongue, it’s not the case for the new woman in charge, Desiree Reed-Francois, so until I figure out something new to call her, she’s probably just Desiree.
It was a big day on Tuesday, as Desiree (Des? DR-F?) officially got to CoMo. First up… an arrival video, fresh from the airport! Loving the shoes. (She’ll be officially introduced at 10am in a press conference, airing on SEC Network+)
And then off to one of her first stops, the South End Zone complex, where she said hello and shared her high hopes for Mizzou’s football team.
I also LOVE to see this from Mizzou volleyball transfer, Brynn Carlson, who chose Mizzou in early May to pursue an additional master’s degree and finish out her eligibility. As someone who aspires to work in athletics myself, seeing a woman leading Mizzou Athletics is inspiring.
As a woman who aspires to work in collegiate athletic administration, I couldn’t be more excited to have @DRFrancois1 as our AD and as someone to learn from during my final years as a student-athlete! #MIZ https://t.co/eFH89eoRQ0— Brynn Carlson (@brynn_carlson) August 11, 2021
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dave Matter talked with some of her former coaches at UNLV to get the inside scoop, and the overwhelming consensus? Mizzou’s new leader is intelligent, bright, approachable, and hard-working. Here’s some highlights…
From UNLV softball coach Kristie Fox, who was one of Reed-Francois’ first hires back in 2017:
“She values people at the top of her leadership style,” Fox said. “She gets to know her staff. She gets to know the different people that work throughout the athletics department, not just the coaches. She tries to create relationships to get the best out of all of the people around her, which I think is the best leadership style there is.”
That’s why she was so impressed last year when Reed-Francois was there to greet every UNLV soccer player the first day they reported for preseason practice.
“She made every freshman and every newcomer introduce themselves, stand up straight and be proud to be a Rebel,” Ruiz-Williams said. “She makes time for everyone.”
From former Tennessee AD, Mike Hamilton, who hired Reed-Francois as his associate AD for strategic initiatives:
“There’s no substitute for intellect,” he added. “People don’t talk a lot about that, but candidly, being bright means something. She is very bright. She has the intellectual capacity to deal with the issues we face in college athletics, both historically and those that are facing us full throttle in the future. The other thing she has, and again there is no substitute for this either, is an incredible work ethic. You can outwork people. At the end of the day, you can still outwork people. She has a work ethic that has allowed her to make the progress she’s made.”
Y’all, I love this hire, and Dave Matter’s article really sold me on her even more.
Onto the Links!
SIDE NOTE: Get em, DRU and TILLY! Both the Heat and the Magic are back in action today, with the Heat facing Memphis at 4pm on ESPN3 and the Magic facing the Cavs at 5pm on ESPN2.
Yesterday at Rock M
- In part two of his series on the SEC expansion blues, Nate (the Great) looked at where the wins might come from.
- Matthew J Harris went in-depth on new Mizzou Hoops commit, Christian Jones.
- IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The Knights of the Rock M Roundtable are back with a new Q&A about the defensive line, and Sam laid out some expectations for the new hoops freshman class.
- Tyler Badie wants the ball more than ever, according to this new post from Dave Matter.
- Hot Seat, Cold Tub is back!! Kevin Pendleton met with Connor Bazelak in this season’s first episode.
- Coach Drinkwitz will be voting on the coaches poll this year, joining the SEC’s Harsin, Lea, Mullen, Saban and Smart.
- Here’s hoping Mookie Cooper makes some serious noise this season.
MY top 5 SEC breakout players on offense for 2021: pic.twitter.com/y6Xafat0Pu— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) August 10, 2021
- The first Rivals 250 for the 2023 class is here, and includes seven in-state prospects and a bunch of players who have already visited Mizzou.
- Mizzou Football will be utilizing some robo quarterback technology this season, as they are partnering with Monarc. More news on this partnership at MUTigers.com
Excited to welcome @MizzouFootball to the Monarc family! A big thank you to Head Coach @CoachDrinkwitz for bringing the Seeker to #Columbia .— Monarc (@MonarcSport) August 10, 2021
We're excited to empower #Mizzou 's student-athletes & get the #Tigers the most out of every minute of practice. #SEC #SECFootball #CFB https://t.co/yck9XjQXze pic.twitter.com/Ymxz9sCC4V
- Here’s Ben Arnet talking with Harrison Mevis about his nickname, the Thiccer Kicker (pretty sure this was coined by Rock M’s very own Nate Edwards, if I’m not mistaken)
Does #Mizzou's 236 lb kicker Harrison Mevis like his nickname "The Thicker Kicker"?— Ben Arnet (@BenArnetKOMU) August 11, 2021
Why yes, yes he does...
And, by the way, kickers excel in the weight room too@kickerhmevis6
- Watch this video on PowerMizzou of Martez Manuel talking about the secondary!
- Check out Bruce Feldman’s “2021 FREAKS List” at The Athletic… if you’re a subscriber. It’s a fun look at players around the country. On the list, Kobie Whiteside!
- Love this from Coach Coop! Coaching supporting coaches!
Who’s excited for fall sports @mizzou ?? @CoachDrinkwitz is getting it done on the football field! Love his passion & energy for @MizzouAthletics @MizzouFootball Looking forward to all @MUWomensGolf members returning to campus! #MIZ #SEC #TeeItUp pic.twitter.com/7C4ZmWQQtq— Coach Coop (@CoachCoop_) August 11, 2021
- Rest In Peace to a great. Former Former MU All-American and Chargers standout Russ Washington dies at 74, according to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune. According to the KC Star’s Blair Kerkhoff, Russ was one of the most successful college and NFL players to emerge from a Kansas City high school.
Washington, 74, played at Southeast High and Missouri, where he was an All-America defensive tackle in 1967. He played on the defensive side for two seasons with the Chargers before moving to offense at right tackle.
- IT’S BACK! WE HAVE A DATE FOR THE RETURN OF MU-KU BASKETBALL, FOLKS! (Sorry it’s the same day as your wedding, BK)
- The social media reviews on the new court are in, and they are… as expected… extremely positive. (peep those twitter posts and you may see from one from someone you know… hint—it’s meeeeee)
- Mama’s quest with the FIBA U19 World Cup team continues this morning!
- Welcome, newcomers!
- GO, ZO!!!!
- In troubling news, the Missourian’s Calum McAndrew reported that former Mizzou basketball player D’Angelo Allen, who I always loved for his energy, finds himself in some serious hot water (along with another former Mizzou athlete) stemming from an incident in 2018.
Other Mizzou Sports/News
- The curators unanimously approved Reed-Francois’ new six-year contract on Tuesday, making her the highest paid AD in the school’s history. She will take over on August 15 (after originally being slated to start on Sept. 1), according to this story by Dave Matter. You can also read this Tiger Extra story from the Trib’s Eric Blum.
- Missouri baseball landed San Diego transfer - and KC native - Carter Rustad, the team announced Tuesday. According to the Missourian’s Anthony Kristensen, Carter finished 5-1 last season with an ERA of 4.70 in 53.2 innings. He was named a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American and threw 20 strikeouts in 14 innings for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer.
- Soccer is BACK, and Mizzou was in Texas facing Sam Houston for their first game of the season! And it was a winner!
Some good moments tonight and a lot to learn from as well, but we had a really strong response which has been a big focus of preseason. 4-1 W to kick things off. #TakeTheStairs #MIZ ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/mZx4w6hOwE— Stefanie Kraay Golan (@MIZCoachGolan) August 11, 2021
- Here’s more from Coach Golan, who was recently mic’d up at practice. Love her energy!
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