Missouri hires Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch for the same role with the Tigers

Tue, Apr 23, 2024
NCAAF News (AP)

Missouri hires Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch for the same role with the Tigers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri hired longtime college administrator Laird Veatch to be its athletic director on Tuesday, bringing him back to campus 14 years after he departed for a series of other positions that culminated with five years spent as the AD at Memphis.

Veatch replaces Desiree Don Reed-Francois, who abruptly left last month for the athletic director job at Arizona.

"The opportunity to return to the University of Missouri and to Columbia is truly incredible for me and my family," Veatch said in a statement. "Mizzou has always had a passionate and dedicated fan base including broad support throughout the state, and together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. That includes winning SEC and NCAA championships while providing our student-athletes with a tremendous experience."

Veatch takes over during a period of significant momentum within the Missouri athletics department.

The Tigers' football team went 11-2 last season, beating Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl and finishing eighth in the final AP Top 25 poll. Their gymnastics and wrestling programs also spent most of this past season ranked in the top 10 nationally.

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Off the field, the Missouri Board of Curators recently announced plans to renovate Memorial Stadium. The $250 million project will enclose the north end while adding premium seating options and other upgrades throughout the stadium.

Veatch had built similar momentum at Memphis, where he oversaw the construction of a new indoor football facility, tennis center, Olympic sports weight room and nutrition center. He also unveiled a long-term strategic vision that included a recently launched $220 million renovation project for Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, the home of the Tigers' football stadium.

"The search committee was dedicated to finding a great director of athletics, but even more important was to find the director of athletics who is the best fit for Mizzou," said Bob Blitz, a member of the Board of Curators and chair of the search committee. "I am confident Laird will accelerate our path to the pinnacle of SEC athletics."

Veatch played football at Kansas State before beginning his career in administration. He spent time at Texas and Iowa State before landing at Missouri, where he worked in a variety of roles until 2010. He spent the next seven years at his alma mater, then three years at Florida, before he took over the athletic department at Memphis.

"Laird Veatch's energy and leadership skills will serve him well in his new position as director of athletics at Missouri," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. "His previous experience at Missouri provides him with insight into the Mizzou campus, and he will also benefit from his experience in the SEC as a senior member of the Florida staff."

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

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