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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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Game day breakdown: No. 8 Kansas basketball at St. John's

A look at some of the keys for eighth-ranked Kansas in Friday night's Big East-Big 12 Challenge matchup with St. John's at the brand new UBS Arena in New York City. By Matt Tait

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Kansas volleyball confident, excited heading into opening-round NCAA Tournament match vs. Oregon

As the Kansas volleyball team gets set for its first NCAA Tournament match since 2017, the young Jayhawks are both fired up and focused ahead of their Thursday showdown with Pac-12 power Oregon in Omaha, Neb. By Matt Tait

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Talented freshman class played huge role in KU volleyball program's return to NCAA Tournament

A talented trio of freshmen, all of whom were honored by the Big 12 Conference in one way or another this season, has played a huge role in the Jayhawks' run back to the NCAA Tournament. Now, that group and KU's upperclassmen will look to keep their season rolling when they face Oregon at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Omaha, Neb., in Round 1. By Matt Tait

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2022 Kansas Relays postponed; KU planning 100th anniversary celebration in 2023

Because of “ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kansas Athletics Inc., announced Tuesday that the 2022 Kansas Relays have been postponed. By Matt Tait

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Kansas big man David McCormack takes 'step in right direction' in KU's 3rd-place win over Iona

After struggling in the first two games of last week's ESPN Events Invitational, Kansas senior David McCormack showed small signs of improvement in KU's 96-83 win over Iona in the third-place game on Sunday.By Matt Tait

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Kansas junior Christian Braun breaks out in Orlando, lands on all-tourney team

Kansas guard Christian Braun was one of KU's top performers last week in Orlando, leading the team in several statistical categories and landing on the ESPN Events Invitational all-tournament team. By Matt Tait

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They're in! Kansas volleyball earns spot in 2021 NCAA Tournament

Jayhawks will play Oregon at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Omaha, Neb.

The Kansas volleyball program found out on Sunday night that its 2021 season would continue at this week's NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks, who finished tied for third in the Big 12 Conference, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, marking the 10th time in school history that KU has qualified for the postseason event. By Matt Tait

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Iona's Rick Pitino on Kansas coach Bill Self after first ever meeting: 'He doesn't have a weakness'

After combining to coach more than 2,000 college basketball games and racking up more than 1,500 victories, Kansas coach Bill Self and Iona coach Rick Pitino finally faced one another on Sunday at HP Field House. By Matt Tait

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4th-ranked Jayhawks ride offense, bemoan defense in 96-83 win over Iona in Orlando

With their chances of an early-season tournament title already dashed by Dayton at the ESPN Events Invitational, the No. 4-ranked Jayhawks wrapped up their holiday weekend in Florida with a 96-83 victory over Iona in the tourney's third-place game on Sunday afternoon. By Matt Tait

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Kansas volleyball completes sweep of K-State, sets up Jayhawks for possible postseason berth

The Kansas volleyball program strengthened its case for an NCAA Tournament bid on Saturday night by coming back from two sets down to top Kansas State in Manhattan. By Matt Tait

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