Home CollegeMizzou Tigers Laird Veatch Named University of Missouri Director of Athletics

Laird Veatch Named University of Missouri Director of Athletics

by Press Release

University of Missouri officials announced today that Laird Veatch has been named as the next director of athletics for Mizzou, effective May 1, 2024. Veatch has served in the same role at the University of Memphis since October 2019.

“AD Veatch is a proven leader with the vision we need to achieve our championship goals,” University of Missouri President Mun Choi said. “I want to thank Curator Blitz and the search committee for identifying the right leader to build upon the incredible momentum of Mizzou Athletics. I also want to thank interim director Marcy Girton for her service and commitment to Mizzou Athletics.”

“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, curator and chair of the search committee. “I am confident Laird will accelerate our path to the pinnacle of SEC athletics.”

Veatch, a former football student-athlete at Kansas State University, is 25-year veteran of intercollegiate athletics with experience in the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference. At Memphis, Veatch oversaw multiple facility projects and renovations, including an indoor football facility, a new tennis center, an Olympic sports weight room and nutrition center. Veatch has also led Memphis’ innovative Name, Image and Likeness program, becoming one of the first schools to hire an NIL director, while collaborating with Altius Sports Partners to develop an Athlete Services Department. Last week, Veatch’s forward-thinking NIL mindset was on display nationally, when Fortune 50 company FedEx announced a $25 million investment over the next five years to create an innovative NIL program benefitting Memphis student-athletes who will be promoting FedEx initiatives.

In 2021, Veatch unveiled Memphis’ strategic vision that aligned with the university’s comprehensive strategic plan and included an integrated academic program and athletics facilities master plan. The university also recently launched a $220 million renovation to revitalize and modernize Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium as the home of Memphis Football.

“We are thrilled to welcome Laird back to Mizzou as our new athletic director,” Board Chair Robin Wenneker said. “Mizzou Athletics competes in a dynamic, highly competitive environment and the search committee sought an AD who would not only capture the momentum we have built, but also drive our athletics program to new heights. Laird is the right person to lead athletics to the highest standard of excellence we expect at the University of Missouri.”

Veatch joins Mizzou Athletics at an exciting time in its history. Mizzou Athletics has had an impressive run of success in the last few years, building success in both athletics and academics. In 2023, Mizzou football finished the season ranked No. 8 in both major polls while gymnastics and wrestling spent most of their seasons ranked among the Top 10 nationally.

The University of Missouri Board of Curators has helped build on the momentum recently by unanimously approving the hiring of Kansas City architecture firm DLR Group to design plans that will transform and modernize Memorial Stadium, the iconic home facility for Mizzou Football since 1926. Designed to preserve the stadium’s tradition-rich elements while embracing a vibrant future for Mizzou, the $250 million Memorial Stadium Improvements Project will enhance the fan experience by further enclosing the north end of the stadium and adding a variety of new premium seating options along the north edge of the stadium, among other upgrades throughout the facility.

“The opportunity to return to the University of Missouri and to Columbia is truly incredible for me and my family,” Veatch said. “I am grateful to President Choi, the Board of Curators and the members of the search committee for believing in me and in the future of Mizzou Athletics. 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. I am honored and humbled to serve the university and to do my part to elevate Mizzou Athletics to unprecedented heights.”

“Laird Veatch’s energy and leadership skills will serve him well in his new position as director of athletics at Missouri,” said Greg Sankey, commissioner of the SEC. “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. We welcome Laird, Brandy and their family back to the SEC.”

Veatch is a leader who is familiar to many in the Mizzou community. He spent five years at Mizzou from 1997-2002, the last three as assistant athletic director for development, where he oversaw the department’s fundraising activities with an emphasis on facility and capital fundraising projects. Veatch also served as general manager of Mizzou Sports Properties from 2003 to 2006 and as regional vice president for Learfield Sports in Missouri from 2006 to 2010.

At Mizzou, Veatch managed the Tiger Scholarship Fund annual giving program and directed the department’s comprehensive capital campaign. Veatch also has served in athletics administrative positions at the University of Texas (1995-97), Iowa State University (2002-03), Kansas State University (2010-2017) and the University of Florida (2017-19). In 2010, Veatch returned to his alma mater and held several positions in Kansas State’s athletics administration, most recently as deputy athletic director and chief of staff (2016-17). Veatch’s first experience in the SEC came at Florida, where he served as executive associate athletic director for internal affairs from 2017 to 2019.

Veatch and his wife, Brandy, have three daughters, Jordyn, Taylor and Sydney, and one son, Dru.

The UM Board of Curators will meet on Wednesday to approve the contract. An introductory press conference will be held later this week; more details will follow.

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