For two months, former Wildcat Laird Veatch had the temporary opportunity to oversee his alma mater’s athletic department, as well as the opportunity to go after the job in a more permanent state.
Passed over in favor of Iowa deputy and former North Dakota State athletic director Gene Taylor, however, Veatch has decided to move on. The Florida Gators announced today that Veatch has been named Executive Associate Athletic Director for Internal Affairs. Veatch will begin his new job on July 1. In Gainesville, Veatch will be responsible for operations and maintenance, as well as assisting in oversight of the football program and engaging in fund-raising.
A Manhattan native and four-year letterman at K-State from 1990-1994, Veatch was a starter at linebacker on the Copper Bowl and Aloha Bowl squads that marked the beginning of Bill Snyder’s success story. Veatch, a team captain as a senior, held the K-State record for tackles in a bowl game with 13 from the 1993 Copper Bowl until the 2004 Fiesta Bowl, when his record was tied by Josh Buhl; it was broken in 2015 when Jonathan Truman racked up 15 tackles at the Alamo Bowl.
After graduation, Veatch went to Texas as a graduate assistant before moving to Missouri. By the end of his six years in Columbia, he had been promoted to associate athletic director; the then moved to Iowa State for two years before joining Learfield Sports in an executive capacity. Finally, in 2009, Veatch returned home to Manhattan, where he was a critical part of K-State’s extremely successful fund-raising efforts which saw, among other things, the massive renovations at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Indeed, there’s an argument that Veatch’s efforts were even more important than those of former athletic director John Currie, who gets the lion’s share of the credit.
In Manhattan, Veatch actually held the same position he’s taking in Florida from 2013-15, before being promoted to deputy athletic director in 2016. So in one respect, it’s a step down based on title, but in terms of responsibility and profile it’s essentially a lateral move.
This is a blow, and a somewhat unexpected one although in retrospect not a surprise. K-State will definitely miss Veatch’s ability to raise money, and those who’ve met him will miss the person in the suit. There were hopes that Veatch would stick around as Gene Taylor’s right hand, but it’s understandable that he might wish to move on after not being rewarded with the big job in Manhattan.