Ryan Young/SEC Country
Florida Athletics director Scott Stricklin named Laird Veatch as the University Athletic Association’s Executive Associate Athletics Director for Internal Affairs

Florida’s Scott Stricklin hires new AD for Internal Affairs

Welcome to another installment of Good Morning, Gators, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering Florida athletics with Florida beat writer Jordan McPherson. Today, we look at a new member of athletics director Scott Stricklin’s staff, football recruiting in the Peach State, two basketball players turning heads ahead of the NBA Draft, and more.

Stricklin’s executive hire

Florida athletics director Scott Stricklin has added his first new member to his administration.

The school announced Tuesday that Stricklin hired Laird Veatch to be the University Athletic Association’s Executive Associate Athletics Director for Internal Affairs. He will start July 1.

He will replace Chip Howard, who has been part of the UAA since 1989 but announced in April that is leaving to become the chief operating officer of Tailgate Guys, a company that specializes in “hassle free” tailgating.

Veatch, a Kansas State graduate with more than 23 years of intercollegiate athletics experience, will assist Stricklin with oversight of the football team and head both the Operations and Management departments inside the UAA, according to the school’s release. Veatch will also “provide leadership and direction for mid and long-range major facilities and capital projects” and “work with constituents on campus and in the UF community, and will serve as liaison to various UF departments.”

He has experience, most recently being his 7 ½ year stint at his alma mater where he most recently served as the school’s deputy athletic director since 2016. According to Florida’s release:

During his time in his hometown, Manhattan, Kan., Veatch provided oversight to the Athletic Department’s Senior Staff on strategic direction, fund-raising, fan experience, ticket sales and multi-media rights.

In addition, he was the lead manager of new capital facility projects, including the coordination of fund-raising, design vision and oversight of construction accountability for an $85 million dollar west-side football stadium expansion and a $65 million dollar football-training complex. The latter was completed in just seven months between football seasons.

 

Recruiting Roundup

The Gators had a big day in the Peach State on Tuesday, sending out offers to three

Sent offers to 3 Buford (Ga.) High players in 2019 OL Harry Miller, Riley Simonds and Carter Colquitt.

Miller is a 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive tackle who holds offers from 8 teams, including Texas A&M and South Carolina.

Simonds, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive guard, also holds offers from Florida Atlantic and Virginia Tech.

Colquitt is the least recruited of the three. Outside of the Gators, his lone offer so far has come from Toledo.

 

Gator hoops at Pro Basketball Combine

Both Justin Leon and Canyon Barry made an impression on the first day of the Pro Basketball Combine on Tuesday held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Leon went 7-for-14 from the field with 8 rebounds while showing off his athleticism in front of representatives from 15 NBA teams.

Barry, meanwhile, is racking up meetings with multiple NBA teams after a strong showing both on the first day of the event and after a solid final year at Florida. The swingman was a graduate transfer at Florida and earned SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors after averaging 11.4 points per game and making 88.3 percent of his free throws.

 

What they’re saying on Twitter

Gators LB Vosean Joseph

Former Gators WR Chris Thompson

Former Gators C Al Horford in response to the NBA lottery selection

Women’s tennis racks up awards

The Florida women’s tennis team, seeded No. 1 overall in the NCAA Tournament, took home a pair of ITA Regional awards on Tuesday.

Senior Kourtney Keegan was awarded the Southeast Region’s ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship while senior Belinda Woolcock was recognized as the ITA Region Senior Player of the Year.

Both will now move on to the national ballot for their respective awards. Winners will be announced Tuesday.

Men’s golf in mix for NCAA championship berth

The Florida men’s golf team, seeded No. 1 in its NCAA regional, improved on its spotty Round 1 performance by shooting a collective 1-under-287 to move into a 3-way tie for third on Tuesday with one round left. The Gators need a top-5 finish in order to advance to the NCAA Championships.

Volleyball players getting international experience

Up to 4 members from the Gators volleyball team will play internationally this summer. Redshirt senior Shainah Joseph will play as a member of the Canadian National Team for the third straight year, while incoming freshman Paige Hammons, redshirt freshman Mia Skolowski and sophomore Rachael Kramer are all vying for spots on the United States Junior National Team.

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