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.
What once was a position of strength for the Kansas University football team quickly has transformed into one of the team's least experienced units. KU coach Charlie Weis announced Tuesday night that senior running backs Brandon Bourbon (torn ACL) and Taylor Cox (torn Achilles' tendon) both will miss the 2014 season after suffering injuries during preseason camp. By Matt Tait
Monday’s Kansas University football practice produced the first significant position change of the 2014 season. Third-year sophomore Jordan Shelley-Smith, a tight end from Waco, Texas, spent Monday working with the offensive line, and it looks as if the shift is permanent. By Matt Tait
The 11th practice of Kansas University’s preseason football camp featured a little different element than the 10 that came before it: fans. By Matt Tait
Today's Fan Appreciation Day and open practice for the Kansas University football program will go on as scheduled.
Maybe it’s his experience, maturity or veteran status, but former Maryland and current Kansas University wide receiver Nigel King already has figured out a plan for the 2014 season. By Matt Tait
When a football team has the luxury of giving the ball to a guy like Kansas University senior receiver Tony Pierson, using the words “most exciting” to describe another player has a way of opening some eyes. Such was the case Wednesday, when KU coach Charlie Weis touted freshman running back Corey Avery as one of the early head-turners from the first few days of preseason camp.
Tony Pierson, the 5-foot-10 wide receiver who led the Jayhawks with 333 receiving yards on 24 receptions last season and is up to a career-best 177 pounds, said earlier this week that the lingering affects of the injury are a thing of the past. By Matt Tait
Senior tight end Jimmay Mundine will miss a couple of weeks of practice while recovering from a small procedure he had done on Monday, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis announced today.
Young in the face but wise where it counts, Montell Cozart spent the past few months fine-tuning his game so he would be ready for showtime. By Matt Tait
Kansas University football officials on Monday released an updated player roster with several new player weights, many of them for the newcomers.