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Staff

Matt Tait

Sports Editor | KUsports.com Editor | KU men's basketball beat writer

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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 both grew up in Kansas, my mom attended Lawrence High and my dad is a Shawnee Mission South graduate. Because of that 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 Jordan's picture. Other highlights from my time at the UDK include my work following the death of Wilt Chamberlain and a fun 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 10 athletes and Sam and I split up the names and did five feature 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 (now Jayhawk Slant) — 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 a student at LHS still are there today and it has been an absolute blast reconnecting with them.

In February of 2010, my job 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, the front end of the David Beaty era 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 December of 2018, I was promoted to Sports Editor of the Journal-World and replaced my longtime boss and friend, Tom Keegan, who left to become a columnist for the Boston Herald, closer to his hometown of Rochester, New York. Yet another new role brought with it exciting opportunities and challenges and fulfilled a destiny of sorts.

Back when I was in 8th grade at West Junior High, one of my teachers gave an assignment that asked us to write a paper about someone who had a job that we might someday want to do. I chose former Journal-World Sports Editor Chuck Woodling, Keegan's predecessor, and here I am today.

In my spare time, in addition to laughing and loving life with my wife, Allison, and stepdaughter, Kate, I enjoy traveling, hanging out at any beach or pool, playing basketball, golf, tennis, yard games, guitar and fantasy sports and cheering for any and all Colorado sports teams.

Recent Stories

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How the deeper 3-point line impacted Kansas basketball during the 2019-20 season

College basketball’s decision to move the 3-point line back 16.75 inches for the 2019-20 season had a minimal impact on KU’s overall 3-point shooting. By Matt Tait

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Kansas football coach Les Miles says KU's QB race has yet to begin

The Kansas football program hasn't identified a replacement for 2019 starting quarterback Carter Stanley — and without the chance to observe players in spring football, coach Les Miles says the QB contest hasn't even truly begun. By Matt Tait

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Former KU linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. moving on to coaching ranks at SMU

Former Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. has officially retired from football and has taken the first step in what he hopes will be a long and successful coaching career. By Matt Tait

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self targeting July 6 return for the Jayhawks

In the end, it looks like the Kansas men’s basketball program’s offseason will wind up being delayed by about a month. By Matt Tait

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NCAA releases 3,200-word return-to-campus document with guidelines on how to handle COVID-19

A new NCAA document gave universities and conferences across the country some more guidance Friday on how to prepare for the return of college athletics, advising them to create COVID-19 task forces and to formulate plans for what to do if an athlete gets sick. By Matt Tait

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KU AD Jeff Long announces departmentwide furloughs, pay cuts

University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long on Wednesday announced staffwide furloughs and pay cuts for all Kansas Athletics employees, including coaches, from June 1 through the end of 2020. By Matt Tait

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KU football's 5 new assistant coaches doing their best to adjust during unusual times

Kansas football coach Les Miles replaced five key members of his coaching staff during the offseason. And because of the global pandemic shutting down college athletics, Miles' five new hires have had to learn different ways to adjust to their new jobs. By Matt Tait

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Mamba Memories: Former Jayhawk Tarik Black shares stories of Kobe Bryant's final NBA game

It’s been four months since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, and former Kansas forward Tarik Black has thought a lot about him since that day in late January. By Matt Tait

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Longtime Oklahoma State coaching legend Eddie Sutton dies at age 84

Kansas native and legendary college basketball coach Eddie Sutton died late Saturday night at age 84.

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Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby discusses necessary steps for football and fans this fall

Conference announced Friday night that football players will be allowed back on campus June 15

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby not only believes there will be college football games this fall but also thinks there will be fans there to watch. By Matt Tait

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