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Mizzou selects Memphis AD Laird Veatch to fill position

Former AD Desireé Reed-Francois left in February
Laird Veatch
Laird Veatch
Posted at 3:51 PM, Apr 22, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Missouri-Columbia has named Laird Veatch, who served as Memphis' athletic director, for the school’s open position.

Former AD Desireé Reed-Francois parted ways with Mizzou in February to become AD at the University of Arizona.

Veatch was selected for being a proven leader with the vision to champion Mizzou's goals, MU President Mun Choi said in a written statement.

“The opportunity to return to the University of Missouri and to Columbia is truly incredible for me and my family,” Veatch said. "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 has served Memphis as the AD since October 2019.

His bio on the university's website notes he is a “25-year veteran in intercollegiate athletics with experience in the Big 12 and SEC" — Veatch was a football captain during his time at Kansas State.

He spent five years at Mizzou from 1997-2002. In his last three years with MU, he served as the assistant athletic director for development.

Other accolades include his success in guiding renovations across Memphis' campus, restructuring the athletics department and securing broadcast partnerships, per the Memphis biography on Veatch.

With his appointment, Veatch becomes the university’s fifth AD in the last decade.

"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," board chair Robin Wenneker said in a statement. "Laird is the right person to lead athletics to the highest standard of excellence we expect at the University of Missouri.”