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Staff

Matt Tait

KUsports.com football reporter

Photo of Matt Tait

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 Kansas University, 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 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 Kansas University 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 included my work following the death of Wilt Chamberlain and a great series that my 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 to do stories on five each. 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 era and lived to tell about it. I never played football — unless you count games in the snow or flag football with friends — but have made it my daily goal to dig as deep as I can 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 May of 2007, my wife, Starr, and I were married in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where we were anointed by the natives as "Jamericans."

In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, basketball, golf, tennis, yard games, playing guitar, fantasy sports and cheering for any and all Colorado teams.

Recent Stories

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KU football lands former UT offensive-line commit for 2015

Aaron Garza, a three-star offensive lineman in Rivals.com’s Class of 2015, orally committed to the Kansas University football program Thursday night. By Matt Tait

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Head and shoulders: Holsopple aims to develop leaders on KU football team

Since Scott Holsopple arrived on campus after being hired away from Florida by KU coach Charlie Weis, the Penn State graduate and former boxer has emphasized his belief that athletes should be trained first from the shoulders up, with the neck and the brain being two of the most important target areas. By Matt Tait

Ex-Jayhawk Sterling done in Denver

Former Kansas University offensive lineman Aslam Sterling is done in Denver. By Matt Tait

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Ex-KU guard Naadir Tharpe explains pro decision, desire for Kansas degree

Former Kansas University point guard Naadir Tharpe, who left KU this spring with the intent to transfer after three seasons with the Jayhawks, recently decided to forego his final season of college eligibility to turn pro instead. Saturday, he explained that becoming a KU graduate and finishing what he started, academically, played a huge role in his decision. By Matt Tait

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Ben McLemore delights with dunks at inaugural Summer Slam event

Former Kansas University guard Ben McLemore wanted to bring a taste of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend to his second home. So, late in his first Sir McLemore Summer Slam event Saturday at Lawrence’s Community Building, McLemore set about recreating his routine from February’s Slam Dunk Contest. The All-Star tribute put the finishing touches on a day that connected McLemore’s friends, family and fans in a place he holds near and dear to his heart. By Matt Tait

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KU RB signee Traevohn Wrench headed to juco

The Kansas University football team’s backfield depth got a little thinner on Saturday with the news that four-star freshman tailback Traevohn Wrench would not be eligible this season and, instead, will enroll at Butler County Community College.

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Kansas’ JaCorey Shepherd willing to give nickel a try

After the changes Kansas University senior JaCorey Shepherd has been through, a potential shift in 2014 can’t be that bad. By Matt Tait

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LB/DE Jenkins-Moore announces departure from KU football

Former junior-college transfer Marcus Jenkins-Moore is leaving the Kansas University football program. By Matt Tait

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All is well: KU receiver Nick Harwell eager to make mark

First-year Kansas University wide receiver Nick Harwell’s return to playing football on Saturdays has reached the homestretch. It has been a long and trying wait. By Matt Tait

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Cyclones psyched to have Mark Mangino back in Big 12

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads and four of his players talked Tuesday at Big 12 media days about what the addition of former Kansas coach Mark Mangino as ISU offensive coordinator has meant for the program. By Matt Tait

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