Gators bring back Howard for UAA post

Former Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley celebrates with associate athletic director Chip Howard after the game against the Georgia Bulldogs on Oct. 29, 2016 in Jacksonville. Howard returns to UAA after leaving two years ago. [Matt Stamey/Correspondent]

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Longtime University Athletic Association administrator Chip Howard has rejoined the Florida athletic department as Executive Associate Athletic Director, Athletic Director Scott Stricklin announced Friday.

Howard, who left the UAA in 2017 to become Chief Operating Officer for Tailgate Guys, replaces Laird Veatch, who was named Athletic Director at the University of Memphis in August.

In addition to serving as a member of the senior executive staff, Howard’s responsibilities will include oversight of the operations and facilities, maintenance and licensing departments. In addition, he will manage concessions, dining services, sport shop and football scheduling functions and return to his post as the University of Florida baseball sport administrator.

“It’s rare for a school to be able to add someone with Chip’s level of experience and ability who also has an innate knowledge of that school’s culture.” Stricklin said. “Chip was invaluable in assisting me when I first came to Florida, and we have a shared vision for Gator athletics. This is a unique opportunity that will allow our leadership team to continue the momentum Gator Nation currently enjoys.”

“I want to thank Scott Stricklin for the opportunity to come back to the UAA,” Howard said. “When I left two years ago, I was disappointed that I could not continue the journey with him because there were great things in store for the Gators. Now my journey has brought me back to Gainesville. The people are what have always made this place so special and I am very grateful to be able to work again with such a talented group of coaches, student athletes and staff. They say, ‘The best journey brings you home,’ and I am living proof of that.”

Additional staffing responsibility changes include Executive Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs Jay Jacobs becoming the football sport administrator, while Senior Associate Athletics Director Jeff Guin will take over as sport administrator for women’s basketball.

Senior Associate Athletics Director Steve McClain, who has oversight responsibilities with Communications, GatorVision, Marketing and Promotions and Gator Sports Properties, will serve as the sport administrator for men’s tennis.

Howard originally joined the UAA in 1989 as an administrative assistant at the University’s golf course, although he didn’t stay in the pro shop long. He worked his way through the ranks to become one of Jeremy Foley’s trusted advisors in UF’s athletic department, serving as executive associate athletic director for internal affairs from 2012-17.