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.
It was more of a fireside chat than an interrogation, but it carried with it one of the most important messages the Kansas men’s basketball team heard all season. By Matt Tait
The Kansas men’s basketball team may very well have the national player of the year on its team in senior guard Frank Mason III, who scored 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting and added seven rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes during Thursday’s Sweet 16 showdown with Purdue. By Matt Tait
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, who has been on both sides of more than a few of these types of NCAA Tournament chess matches, stressed to his team all week that speed beats size. Perhaps it was just to provide his team with confidence. Maybe it was to knock Purdue down a peg. Maybe it was just the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth the way Self saw it. Either way, the top-seeded Jayhawks proved their coach right in a big way — and a bunch of ways — during Thursday’s explosive, 98-66, Sweet 16 victory. By Matt Tait
At a point in the season when most teams are looking for any extra edge they can get, the Kansas men’s basketball team is just fine where it is. By Matt Tait
With their seasons on the line, both top-seeded Kansas and fourth-seeded Purdue will ride national player of the year candidates Frank Mason III and Caleb Swanigan into a Sweet 16 clash Thursday night in Kansas City, Mo. By Matt Tait
A look at some of the keys for top-seeded Kansas in Thursday's Sweet 16 showdown with fourth-seeded Purdue at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. By Matt Tait
The first reward of the Kansas men’s basketball team’s ability to land the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region in nearby Kansas City, Mo., in this year’s NCAA Tournament figures to show up loud and clear Wednesday afternoon.
At this time of year, a team’s mentality can mean everything. And Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self said Tuesday that he was pleased with where his Jayhawks sit in that department heading into preparations for Thursday’s Sweet 16 showdown with Purdue. By Matt Tait
Just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, less than an hour after leaving Lawrence, the Kansas men’s basketball team arrived at the Westin Crown Center, its headquarters for the second weekend of this year’s NCAA Tournament. By Matt Tait
An opponent of each team during the 2016-17 season, Nebraska basketball coach Tim Miles on Monday broke down top-seeded Kansas’ upcoming match-up with fourth-seeded Purdue, set for approximately 8:39 p.m. Thursday in the Sweet 16 in Kansas City, Mo. By Matt Tait