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.
Last Monday’s 60 years of Allen Fieldhouse celebration was supposed to be all about the old Kansas University basketball arena that has served as the stage for some of the most memorable moments in the program’s storied history.
Given all that Fish Smithson, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior-college transfer, has been through in his life to get to this point, it’s hard to imagine anything would faze him. By Matt Tait
The Baylor offense leads the Big 12 in 11 statistical categories and ranks first nationally in four, including total offense (579 yards per game), touchdowns per game (6.6) and fourth-down conversions (18) and attempts (25).
Monday night’s 60 years of Allen Fieldhouse celebration might have been about a building that began with a $2 million budget in 1955 and still stands strong today, but, for several former Kansas University players who once called the venue home, it was as much about the men who made memories inside of it as anything. By Matt Tait
Mark Mangino's return to Kansas University's Memorial Stadium officially will kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 8, as the Jayhawks welcome the Iowa State offensive coordinator and his Cyclones to town for a showdown of teams at the bottom of the Big 12 standings.
Kansas University football coach Clint Bowen on Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference said that running back/wide receiver Tony Pierson was back in the mix after recovering from an injury that knocked him out of the Jayhawks' loss to Texas Tech after just two plays. By Matt Tait
Last Wednesday, the Journal-World's Matt Tait and Nick Krug got the chance to go behind the scenes for a look at a day in the life of KU football interim head coach Clint Bowen, who has been given the tall task of guiding the struggling Jayhawk football program since the firing of Charlie Weis on Sept. 28. From sunup to sundown, every step the former KU safety took revealed a coach who values hard work above all else and has a darn good time along the way. By Matt Tait
Nick Reid, Kevin Kane and Banks Floodman. Mike Rivera, James Holt and Joe Mortensen. All are former Kansas University linebackers who, for one reason or another, won the hearts of the KU fan base during their playing days in Lawrence. And all are names that still make Jayhawk fans think about a style of play more than a team or a time.
Score one for the Clint Bowen recruiting resume. Thursday afternoon, JayhawkSlant.com reported that Josh Moore, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end from nearby Olathe North High had switched his commitment from Ohio State to Kansas University.
Kansas University senior Tony Pierson, who missed all but two plays of last Saturday's 34-21 loss at Texas Tech, is being evaluated by doctors this morning for an injury in his neck area and the full scope of the injury is not yet known. By Matt Tait