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.
For weeks after he was hired back in December, first-year Kansas University football coach David Beaty raved about the quality of the coaching staff he brought with him to Lawrence. Three days into spring practices, the elements that make Beaty so high on each coach already have become evident. By Matt Tait
Five solo home runs and a loading of the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning were not enough to save Kansas University from a softball sweep by Texas. By Matt Tait
The whole thing lasted less than 10 seconds but so adequately summed up the work that had been done in the Kansas University football weight room from early December to mid-March.
Kansas Athletics, Inc., and first-year Kansas University football coach David Beaty recently finalized Beaty's five-year contract and the details and language within it may be the best indicator to date that KU learned a valuable lesson from the failings of its past two contracts with dismissed football coaches Turner Gill and Charlie Weis.
Wednesday’s pro timing day for Kansas University’s football team attracted scouts from 25 NFL teams and produced mixed results for the 15 members of the 2014 KU football team who participated. By Matt Tait
There was no depth chart, only a number of different position charts. There were no old habits, only new routines. And by the time the first spring practice under first-year Kansas University football coach David Beaty had wrapped — a little more than three hours after it began, thanks to a lightning delay that Beaty called “adversity” — Beaty summed up the day with genuine excitement over what had just been accomplished.
Kansas University football coach David Beaty has been a busy man since he was hired back in December. And all of the running from place to place to meet with recruits, fans, administrators and donors is something the first-year coach believes was critical in building his program. By Matt Tait
There were a dozen big shots, all kinds of clutch moments and even a few runs that decided Sunday's 78-65 victory by seventh-seeded Wichita State over No. 2 seed Kansas at CenturyLink Center. But no play better illustrated the difference between the two teams or defined the reason for the final score like the hustle play and ensuing slam dunk made by Wichita State freshman Zach Brown. By Matt Tait
Despite a slow start that saw No. 2 seed Kansas play with the lead for the first 15 minutes of the first half, the seventh-seeded Wichita State Shockers got hot when it counted and ran over the Jayhawks, 78-65 on Sunday at CenturyLink Center.
During the past three seasons, Wichita State guard Ron Baker has demonstrated on dozens of occasions the unflappable demeanor that has made him one of the toughest players in college basketball. By Matt Tait