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.
With Devonte' Graham on the bench after a collision with Udoka Azubuike, freshman guard Marcus Garrett played point for KU and led the Jayhawks to a huge bucket just before halftime during Saturday's 83-79, NCAA Tournament victory over Seton Hall in Wichita. By Matt Tait
It was the simplest of plays — one Kansas has run a thousand times this season. And it almost was responsible for the end of the Jayhawks' season. By Matt Tait
The idea coming into KU's second-round NCAA Tournament game at Intrust Bank Arena was for the top-seeded Jayhawks to keep injured center Udoka Azubuike on some sort of minutes restriction, somewhere in the 15- to 20-minute range. By Matt Tait
A look at some of the keys for top-seeded Kansas in Saturday's NCAA Tournament second-round clash with No. 8 seed Seton Hall in Wichita. By Matt Tait
The ever-improving health of Kansas center Udoka Azubuike appears to have taken its biggest step forward since the KU sophomore injured his left knee 10 days ago at a practice in Lawrence and played just three minutes in KU's next four games. By Matt Tait
Kansas point guard Devonte' Graham's ability to do alter his game and attack defenses in different ways all season long has put the Jayhawks in the position they're in today, playing for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Saturday night against No. 8 seed Seton Hall in Wichita. By Matt Tait
Nerves played a big role in KU's major struggles early on during Thursday's 76-60 victory over 16th-seeded Penn at Intrust Bank Arena during the first round of the NCAA Tournament. By Matt Tait
There were a couple of things Kansas point guard Devonte' Graham believed strongly about KU's 1-16 matchup with Penn during Thursday's first-round NCAA Tournament game. By Matt Tait
A look at some of the keys for top-seeded Kansas in today's first-round NCAA Tournament game against No. 16 seed Penn in Wichita.By Matt Tait
While the top-seeded Jayhawks are double-digit favorites in Las Vegas, and the pick to advance on 99.9 percent of brackets across America, there has been more than a little buzz this week about the fact that the Penn Quakers could be the latest 16 seed to really challenge a 1, adding intrigue to what, in years past, has been a rather uneventful game. By Matt Tait