Missouri names Laird Veatch new athletic director

Missouri has named Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch as the school's next athletic director, the university announced Tuesday.

Terms of Veatch's contract were not disclosed but sources told ESPN that he received a five-year deal.

"AD Veatch is a proven leader with the vision we need to achieve our championship goals," Missouri president Mun Choi said in a statement. "I want to thank Curator [Bob] 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."

Veatch has been at Memphis since October 2019 and brings SEC experience from his time at Florida from 2017 through 2019, when he was an executive associate athletic director.

Veatch had a strong tenure at Memphis and leaves the school with a flurry of recent accomplishment that includes a 10-win football season in 2023. Also, in recent days, the athletic department received a pledge from FedEx of $25 million over the next five years, which is expected to be a boon for the school's NIL efforts.

Memphis also announced a three-phase Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium overhaul that's set to cost $220 million and to be executed in the coming years. Veatch helped secure money from the state, FedEx and private fundraising to secure the renovations.

Veatch will replace Desireé Reed-Francois, who left for Arizona in February. Veatch is a former Kansas State football captain and worked in athletics from 2010 to 2017, including a stint as interim athletic director.

He also worked at Missouri in various development roles from 1997 to 2002, giving him familiarity with the complications and politics that have emerged as an inherent part of the Missouri job. Veatch will be the fourth athletic director at the school since 2016.

"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. "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."

Veatch's football experience proved attractive to Missouri officials.

And his arrival will come at a time when the Missouri football program is bracing for unusually high expectations, as the football program will be in or close to the top 10 in the preseason polls. The Tigers will have one of the SEC's most accomplished quarterbacks in Brady Cook and perhaps the top wide receiver in the country in Luther Burden III.