Director of Athletics
Alma Mater: University of New Mexico, 1998
Dennis Francois is in his first year as director of athletics at Central Washington University. He came to Ellensburg after serving as the associate athletic director for external affairs in the Department of Athletics at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Francois, who had been at Drake since 2008, directed and supervised all marketing and promotional operations, including the university’s IMG Drake Sports Marketing relationship which increased revenues by more than 40 percent from 2009 to 2103, In addition, Francois worked with the university’s athletic booster club to generate more than $750,000 in annual revenue, and he managed the three highest tickets sales for the historic Drake Relays, the second oldest—and regarded among the top—track and field meets in the nation. He also served on the organizing committee for the 2010 USA Track and Field Championships, and the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Division 1 Track and Field Championships.
Francois was director of Athletics and Recreational Sports at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon from 2005 to 2008. During his tenure at SOU, scholarship support increased by 80 percent, while the athletic department experienced a 20-fold increase in external revenue through the development of an extensive corporate sponsorship and marketing plan. Numerous facilities upgrades were made and Francois also developed a comprehensive academic support services program. His time at SOU allowed him to become familiar with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, in which Central participates.
In addition, Francois served as interim athletics director at New Mexico Highlands from March 2002 through June 2003. His coaching experiences include as an assistant wrestling coach at his alma mater, Loras College, in Dubuque, Iowa, and at Colorado Northwestern Community College, Rangely, Colorado.
Francois earned his PhD in sports administration from the University of New Mexico, a master’s degree in administration of athletics from Loras College, and a bachelor’s degree in communications management from Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, where he competed in wrestling.
Francois says the importance of “student” in student-athlete will always take precedence in his administration.
Francois came to CWU with his wife, Teresa, and children, Sage, 13, and Chloe, 10. He was hired at the conclusion of a national search, with input from alumni and fans across Washington, to find a successor to Jack Bishop, who retired in June after 13 years leading the Wildcats.