Mizzou [1296x729]
Mizzou [1296x729] (Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP)

Jackie Robinson replacement statue nearly done

Missouri is targeting Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch to be the school's next athletic director, sources told ESPN. A deal is expected to be finalized in the near future, per sources.

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.

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.