Matt Tait

Sports Editor | 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 — (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 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 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 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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Rookie on the rise: KU freshman Christian Braun delivers another strong outing in first career start

Kansas freshman Christian Braun had the duration of Monday night's pregame routine to adjust to the idea of joining the Jayhawks’ starting lineup at Oklahoma State. Luckily for Kansas, he didn’t need more time than that. By Matt Tait

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Notebook: Christian Braun honors Kobe Bryant during first career start at OSU

Stillwater, Okla. — In his first start as a member of the Kansas men’s basketball program, KU freshman Christian Braun brought a little extra help to the court with him on Monday night. By Matt Tait

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Behind 11 triples, No. 3 Kansas rolls past Oklahoma State for 65-50 road win

Stillwater, Okla. — Three-point shooting has not exactly been a strong suit of the third-ranked Kansas basketball team so far this season. But it sure saved them on Monday night in a 65-50 win over Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Matt Tait

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Game Day Breakdown - No. 3 Kansas at Oklahoma State

A look at some of the keys for third-ranked Kansas in tonight's Big Monday battle vs. Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. By Matt Tait

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Notebook: KU junior Marcus Garrett fine after hard fall in win over UT

After bouncing off the floor at least 5 or 6 inches into the air following a hard foul on a transition dunk attempt during the first half of KU’s 74-68 win over Tennessee on Saturday, junior guard Marcus Garrett hopped up and walked toward the free-throw line.

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Udoka the dominator: Azubuike powers shorthanded Kansas team to 74-68 win over Tennessee

Kansas senior Udoka Azubuike has experienced plenty of days when his size and strength have been the difference. But his presence on the floor rarely has meant more to KU’s chances for success than it did on Saturday in a 74-68 victory over Tennessee at Allen Fieldhouse. Matt Tait

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Game Day Breakdown - No. 3 Kansas vs. Tennessee

A look at some of the keys for third-ranked Kansas in today's Big 12/SEC Challenge clash with Tennessee at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self vows team will learn and grow from ugly brawl with Kansas State

Days after two of his players were suspended for their roles in a brawl, Kansas coach Bill Self vowed that his team would learn from the incident. By Matt Tait

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Opportunity Knocks: What KU's Isaiah Moss and coach Bill Self have learned about each other that has Moss poised for a bigger role

With David McCormack out of the starting lineup for at least the next two games to serve a suspension for his role in Tuesday’s brawl with Kansas State, KU coach Bill Self has a decision to make about his fifth starter. By Matt Tait

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Big 12 suspensions to Silvio De Sousa, David McCormack leave Kansas thin up front

The Wednesday suspensions of Kansas basketball forwards Silvio De Sousa (12 games) and David McCormack (2 games) will have a significant impact on the KU lineup in the week ahead. By Matt Tait

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