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.
The Kansas football program’s strong recruiting stretch took a small hit this week, when three-star Texas defensive back Akayleb Evans announced he was de-committing. By Matt Tait
When Kansas University’s football team opens camp during the first week of August, second-year head coach David Beaty will have one major expectation about the new-look Air Raid offense. By Matt Tait
Fourth-year junior Montell Cozart has heard and seen just about everything during his days as a Kansas University football player. The loudest sounds have come from the doubters. By Matt Tait
David Beaty and his staff want to help create good young men who will go on to become good fathers and husbands well after their days as good football players are behind them. By Matt Tait
Some of the top athletes and coaches in the Big 12 Conference will invade the heart of Big 12 country today and Tuesday for the annual and unofficial start of the college football season known as Big 12 media days.
When the results of the 2016 preseason Big 12 football media poll were released on Thursday, it came as no surprise that Oklahoma was the overwhelming favorite to win the conference, securing 258 points and 24 of 26 first-place votes.
Wednesday, the Big 12 Conference released this year’s preseason all-conference football selections as voted by the media. As you might have guessed, no Kansas University players were mentioned. By Matt Tait
The name Kendall Nyear Duckworth appeared on a booking report at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office over the weekend, but not because of any new criminal activity.
I noticed recently that the Kansas University football coaching staff had extended a scholarship offer to Class of 2018 pro-style quarterback Cammon Cooper, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound Utah prospect who already is receiving interest from several big-time programs.
Kansas’ Memorial Stadium may sit 811 miles from the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, city limits, but, to three-star defensive end Troy James, it felt closer than that. By Matt Tait