When John Currie announced he was leaving Kansas State for Tennessee, Laird Veatch was a name tossed around as a potential replacement as the Wildcats’ athletic director.
Veatch, who was Currie’s deputy AD at K-State, was named the interim athletic director in Currie’s absence and helped navigate two months of department activities.
But Veatch didn’t get the head job, which instead went to Iowa deputy AD Gene Taylor. When Taylor was announced on Monday, K-State President Richard Myers was the first to thank Veatch.
“We have to thank Laird Veatch, who stepped into the breach as interim athletic director and got us through the end of our basketball season and the NCAA tournament and start of baseball and so many other things that Laird had to do day in and day out,” Myers said.
When Taylor got the chance to speak, he also directed a message straight to Veatch.
“Laird, your leadership is outstanding,” Taylor said. “The number of people that called and talked about you at such a high level — I can’t wait to get to work with you. I think we’re going to make a great team.”
That’s of course if Veatch stays in his position at K-State. Veatch is a former Wildcat football player who returned to Manhattan in 2009 as associate athletic director for capital support. He moved up the ladder over time to become Currie’s second-in-command.
Although Veatch didn’t land the job as athletic director, Myers said he was considered as a candidate.
“You’ve got to consider him strongly because he’s been here for a lot of the good work,” Myers said. “He’s a good administrator. He’s a strong fundraiser who bleeds purple. You consider people like that very strongly.”
Veatch might be mentioned for a job that just opened up at Tennessee under Currie, whom he described in March as a mentor. Last week, Tennessee senior associate athletic director Mike Vollmar resigned to pursue other opportunities.
Myers said he hopes Veatch decides to remain at K-State.
“He and Gene have already formed a relationship,” Myers said. “Their families and their wives have been out together and so forth. I think they’re going to find a good relationship here. The ultimate goal, because Laird is such a good guy and confident, is that we put him in a position where he can compete for an AD job at a big school. That’s our goal. I hope he stays.”