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.
Former Kansas Univeristy linebacker Ben Heeney, who led the Jayhawks in tackles during each of the past three seasons and earned first-team all-Big 12 honors in 2014, and cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, who was among the top corners in the country in passes defended in 2014, on Tuesday, learned that they had received invitations to the annual NFL Scouting Combine. By Matt Tait
Rayna DuBose has a connection to Kansas University athletics that likely will last the rest of her life. But the fact she played basketball for KU coach Bonnie Henrickson at Virginia Tech 13 years ago played no part in her recent visit to Lawrence, even if the reunion was sweet for both the coach and player. By Matt Tait
It was net two for the Kansas University football recruiting efforts over the weekend, as the Jayhawks and head coach David Beaty picked up four more oral commitments but also lost two previous commitments to other schools. By Matt Tait
After opening Big 12 Conference play with five straight losses, the Kansas University women's basketball team won its second Big 12 game in a row, 65-59, over West Virginia on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait
When former Kansas University safety Justin Thornton sits down to watch this year’s NFL Pro Bowl — 7 p.m. Sunday night, ESPN — he’ll see three guys he started next to in KU’s 2008 Orange Bowl secondary making their first appearances in the postseason all-star game. By Matt Tait
The Journal-World has learned that former Kansas University running back Brandon Bourbon will enroll at Washburn University in Topeka and play his final season of eligibility for the Ichabods next fall.
For much of his coaching life, Clint Bowen has been one of the youngest guys on any coaching staff of which he has been a part. Not anymore. By Matt Tait
The Oklahoma Sooners dished plenty of credit to the Kansas University men's basketball team for its role in Monday night's hard-fought, 85-78 victory at Allen Fieldhouse. But with the disappointment of coming so close to stealing a victory in one of the most difficult places to win in the country still showing on their faces, the Sooners took their share of the blame for allowing the Jayhawks to explode offensively. By Matt Tait
Shola Ayinde, a two-star defensive back from Georg Ranch High in Richmond, Texas, announced on Twitter late Monday night that he had orally committed to the Kansas University football program. By Matt Tait
One monster half by each team provided the opportunity for a wild finish and the Kansas University men's basketball team, which dominated in the first half, made more plays than Oklahoma down the stretch and came away with a 85-78 victory at Allen Fieldhouse.