MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The University of Memphis has introduced their new athletic director, Laird Veatch.
“Alright Tigers, are you ready?” Veatch said at an introductory news conference Tuesday.
Veatch previously served as executive associate athletics director for internal affairs at the University of Florida and as deputy athletics director and interim director of athletics at Kansas State University.
President David Rudd announced Veatch’s hiring last week. He says Veatch is a former student-athlete -- a two-time All-American linebacker from Kansas State -- who recognizes the challenges of being a student-athlete.
He said the timing was right for his first athletic director position.
“We look for certain things: quality of leadership, coaches, support from fan base," Veatch said. "Other things as well. Of course I have advisers that help me look for what I wanted. The Opportunity here is special at this time.”
Veatch’s parents, his wife and their four children attended the news conference Tuesday as Rudd and Alan Graf, chair of the Board of Trustees introduced him to Memphis media.
Veatch replaces Tom Bowen who stepped down in May.
Rudd said the Tigers are positioned to be comparable with any program for top talent, both administratively ad athletically.
“Frankly, you could go through the autonomy 5 conferences, and the University of Memphis is competing at or above a number of those. So the you could categorize us as competitive figuratively even if not literally," Rudd said.
Rudd, Graf and Veatch thanked Allie Prescott for serving as interim athletic director. Rudd says Prescott will stay on in a new capacity working as a special assistant in the president’s office, assisting with fundraising initiatives.
Veatch’s first day on the job will be October 1.