Florida Gators fill vacancy on UAA staff, welcome Laird Veatch

The Florida Gators have filled its Executive Associate Athletics Director for Internal Affairs role with former Kansas State Deputy Director of Athletics, Laird Veatch.

Veatch fills the role that was vacated by Chip Howard in April. Howard spent 28 years in Florida’s Athletic Department. Veatch will start on July 1.

“Needless to say the impact of Chip leaving the UAA will be significant,” said Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin. “Chip’s been invaluable in assisting with my transition to Florida, and I’ll miss him as both a colleague and a friend.”

Laird Veatch, picture courtesy of UAA Communications
Laird Veatch, picture courtesy of UAA Communications

Veatch has long ties to Kansas State. He was apart of Bill Synder’s first recruiting class and played for years for the Wildcats (1990-1994). He was a captain his senior year and a two-time CFA Academic All-American.

He began his professional career at Texas, assisting with the development program as well as external affairs as a graduate student earning his Master’s degree in Sports Administration.

Veatch spent six years at Missouri (1997-2002), the last three as Assistant Athletics Director for Development, overseeing fund-raising activities for the athletic department.

Veatch spent seven years with Learfield Sports (2003-10), including the last four as Regional Vice President (2006-10). As Regional Vice President of Learfield Sports’ Heartland Division, Veatch was responsible for the leadership and oversight of eight Division I multimedia rights departments, including four new start-up properties from the ground-up.

“We could not be more excited to have someone with Laird’s skills and background joining our staff,” UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said. “Laird possesses significant relationship building experience and expertise in intercollegiate athletics both on the institutional and private sector sides, and he has a great perspective on what it takes to be successful. He is a great fit and we welcome him and his family into the Gator Nation.”

He was a candidate to become the Athletic Director at Kansas State, following the departure of Kansas State Athletic Director John Currie, and was serving as acting AD, before the job went to Gene Taylor.

While at Kansas State, Veatch was the lead manager of capital facility projects. He coordinated find-raising for Kansas State’s $85 million dollar project at Bill Snyder Family Stadium as well as the $65 million dollar Vanier Family Football Complex.

“As Manhattan natives and K-State graduates, (my wife) Brandy and I never imagined leaving the place we love so much. It would take an incredibly special opportunity for us to do so, and the chance to join Scott’s (Stricklin) administrative team supporting programs that compete at the very highest level in in the Southeastern Conference is just that,” Veatch said. “During our recent visit to Gainesville, we were so impressed with the people and culture in the Florida program, established by Jeremy Foley and continued under Scott’s leadership.”

“This is a chance for my family and me to grow in exciting new ways and experience things we never expected. We are excited to get to Florida and begin this new chapter in our lives.”

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC