Memphis hires Florida’s Laird Veatch as athletic director
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis has hired Laird Veatch to fill its athletic director vacancy.
Veatch has spent the last two years as Florida’s executive associate athletics director for internal affairs. He is replacing Tom Bowen, who stepped down in May after holding the position for seven years. Allie Prescott had been Memphis’ interim athletic director since Bowen’s departure.
“Laird’s a perfect fit for the university and our city,” Memphis President M. David Rudd said Friday in a statement announcing the hire. “As a former student-athlete, he brings a unique perspective and a wealth of experience at some of the nation’s leading athletic departments, along with a strong vision for the future, a keen understanding of a rapidly changing landscape, unparalleled integrity and energy, and a commitment to competing at the highest level.”
Veatch arrived at Florida in July 2017 and served as the sports administrator for football as well as the primary liaison with Gator Boosters, which handles fundraising for Florida athletics. He also led administrative oversight of capital improvement projects, event operations, facilities and strength and conditioning.
He worked at Kansas State from 2010-17 in a variety of roles including deputy athletics director and interim director of athletics. He played football at Kansas State from 1990-94 and was a team captain.
Veatch’s background includes stops at Texas (1995-97), Missouri (1997-2002), Iowa State (2002-03) and Learfield Sports (2003-10).
Veatch said in a university release that his conversations with Rudd and various colleagues made it “apparent there is a tremendous amount of momentum in Memphis.” Veatch added that “we have an opportunity to build an unprecedented era in Tiger athletics.”
Memphis’ football team has made a school-record five straight bowl appearances, and men’s basketball coach Penny Hardaway’s most recent recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
But the news hasn’t been all positive.
School officials announced last month they’ve launched an independent external review of their women’s basketball program in response to complaints of abuse and harassment.