The year was 1978 and on a warm day in late June, I entered the world at the base of the Flatirons in beautiful Boulder, Colorado.
Because I am a native of Colorado (yes, I used to have the sticker on my car) I instantly was granted membership into the fandom of any and all Colorado sports teams. Throughout the years, I've even been known to embellish the circumstances surrounding my birth to tell the tale that the first thing I remember seeing was glorious Folsom Field, home of the Colorado Buffaloes. Not true. Sue me.
My parents are both natives of Kansas, my mom attended Lawrence High and my dad is a Shawnee Mission South graduate. Because of that, and their love for KU, I moved to Lawrence when I was 10, a few months after Danny and the Miracles made their run to the title (sweet timing, right) and have been here ever since.
I continue to call Colorado home and have made many attempts at returning there after moving to Lawrence. I intended to return for high school.... didn't happen. I was certain that I would attend Colorado State University for college.... that didn't happen either, mostly because of the reputation of KU's Journalism School and my in-state status. After that, though, I was sure I would move back to Colorado for my first job. As you surely know by now, that didn't happen either. I used to wonder why I never made it back there, but then it hit me: Lawrence must be a pretty great place and I must like it here. Both are true.
During my time in Lawrence, I attended Pinckney Elementary School for two years, West Junior High for three and graduated from Lawrence High in 1996. After that I attended the University of Kansas and graduated in 2000 with a degree in Journalism.
During my college days, I covered the KU baseball and basketball teams for the University Daily Kansan. While I enjoyed covering baseball and learned a lot while doing it, basketball was the beat everybody wanted and I still remember my first hoops story for the UDK: Michael Jordan retires. There was something pretty cool about seeing my byline next to a mug shot of Jordan. Other highlights from my time at the UDK include my work following the death of Wilt Chamberlain and a great series that my former roommate (Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star) and I did on the top 10 KU athletes of the century around the Y2K craze. The KU athletic department voted on the top 10 and Sam and I split up the names and did five stories apiece. Mine: Wilt, Ray Evans, Al Oerter, Jim Ryun and Ralph Miller. What a great time.
In addition to working for the UDK, I was the publisher of a KU sports web site run by Rivals.com — JayhawkTalk.com — which I continued to operate for a little more than a year after graduation.
I joined the World Company in June of 2001, when I was hired to become the sports editor of the Bonner Springs Chieftain and Basehor Sentinel weekly newspapers. In 2004, my position grew to include becoming the sports editor of the Shawnee Dispatch, another weekly, which I helped start from the ground up. In July of 2007 I got the call to the big leagues when I was named High School Sports Editor at the Journal-World.
It was an awesome feeling covering high school sports in the town I grew up in. Many of the coaches who were around when I was at LHS still are there today and it has been an absolute blast reconnecting with them.
In February of 2010, my job title changed again when I was promoted into the role of KU football beat writer. After helping out with our football coverage during Mark Mangino's final couple of seasons, I covered the entire Turner Gill and Charlie Weis eras and lived to tell about it. I never played football — unless you count games in the snow or flag football with friends — but made it my daily goal to dig as deep as I could into the KU program to help explain how and why things happen while also analyzing the players, coaches and trends surrounding the Kansas football team in a basketball-crazed town.
In October of 2013, I was promoted to KUsports.com Editor and began working more closely with all aspects of our coverage of KU athletics while also managing writers, working with web developers, overseeing and making decisions about our coverage and online initiatives, trouble-shooting and interacting even more with our readers.
During the summer of 2016, the Journal-World and KUsports.com were sold by the World Company to Ogden Newspapers and as a part of that transition I became the KU basketball beat writer while also retaining my title as KUsports.com Editor.
In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, basketball, golf, tennis, yard games, playing guitar, fantasy sports and cheering for any and all Colorado teams.
Earlier this week, KU's list of Late Night in the Phog visitors for the Oct. 1 extravaganza grew by one, when Class of 2018 point guard Brandon Williams became the latest to make his intentions known. By Matt Tait
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With summer school behind him, the fall semester in full swing and the official start of the 2016-17 season a little more than a month out, KU freshman Josh Jackson already has been able to get feedback on several of the factors that influenced him to pick Kansas in early April. So far, Jackson’s KU experience has lived up to what he visualized all those months ago. By Matt Tait
Third-year Kansas Jayhawk Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, who still is just 19 years old, recently returned to Lawrence a more confident player after more than two months overseas training in his native Ukraine and playing at the Under-20 European Championships in Finland. By Matt Tait
Trae Young, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound point guard ranked 14th in the 2017 recruiting class announced the dates of four of his official visits on Twitter on Wednesday.By Matt Tait
After finishing the 2015-16 season with career bests in points (11.3), assists (3.7), rebounds (3.3), three-point shooting (.441) and more, KU guard Devonté Graham spent the summer focused on getting bigger and stronger and is eagerly awaiting the start of his junior season. By Matt Tait
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There was a lot of hype and, yes, even a few nerves in the hours leading up to Kansas point guard Frank Mason III throwing out the first pitch at Kauffman Stadium before Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins. But when all was said and done, the KU senior from Petersburg, Virginia survived. Barely. By Matt Tait
While Ali and Jordan were among the names you might expect to hear when listening to answers about one's favorite athlete of all-time, KU coach Bill Self threw an energetic crowd a curveball when answering the question Saturday at KU's Traditions Night. By Matt Tait