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.
A look at some of the keys for fourth-ranked Kansas in today's afternoon clash with visiting Stanford. By Matt Tait
Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self recently explained why he operates with the philosophy that there are more ways to get important players rest during the college basketball season than by limiting their minutes on game nights.By Matt Tait
Plenty of visiting head coaches have been serenaded with loud and proud boos raining down on them from the Allen Fieldhouse bleachers throughout the years. But it takes a special set of circumstances for a coach other than the one sitting on the Kansas bench to receive a warm welcome from Jayhawk fans. That figures to be what takes place a little before 2:30 p.m. Saturday, when former KU standout Jerod Haase is introduced as the head coach of the Stanford men’s basketball team, in town to take on the Jayhawks on ESPN. By Matt Tait
Kansas coach Bill Self said Thursday afternoon that senior forward Landen Lucas would not practice today and his status was uncertain for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. tip-off against Stanford at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait
Kansas forward Carlton Bragg looks a lot like the same person he was as a freshman, but watching his play and reading his stats tells a different story, one that nobody expected and many are trying to decode as the Jayhawks (6-1) prepare for their eighth game of what was supposed to be Bragg’s breakout season. By Matt Tait
Kansas senior Landen Lucas was held out of Tuesday’s 91-61 victory over Long Beach State for what KU coach Bill Self described as “a little strain in his oblique or whatever it is in his side.” Lucas, who has struggled to regain the form that made him a key member of last year’s Elite Eight squad, suited up and went through warm-ups but never ditched the warm-up pants. By Matt Tait
There are a variety of numbers one could point to while trying to demonstrate just how fast fourth-ranked Kansas played during Tuesday’s 91-61, run-away victory over Long Beach State at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait
A look at some of the keys for fourth-ranked Kansas in tonight's home match-up with Long Beach State. By Matt Tait
Coming off a freshman year in which he played just 91 minutes in 19 games, Kansas guard Lagerald Vick said Monday that he had no idea he would be quite this comfortable nearly this quickly during his second season with the Jayhawks. By Matt Tait
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self will be the first to tell you that having a 6-foot-8, wildly athletic and ultra-versatile player to experiment with during the 2016-17 season already has been an absolute joy. By Matt Tait