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 one week of Boot Camp now in the books, Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self went into the weekend feeling pretty good about his team’s effort and performance during the first five days of the annual conditioning camp that tests every ounce of his players’ minds, bodies and souls. By Matt Tait
Friday, after a 50-minute Boot Camp session that capped the first week of the Jayhawks’ intense, offseason training regimen, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self expressed his appreciation and admiration for the job Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little has done during her time in charge. By Matt Tait
Late Wednesday night, it was revealed that five-star forward Billy Preston, of Oak Hill Academy, will be the latest in a long line of marquee visitors who plan to attend this year's Late Night in the Phog, Oct. 1 at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait
KU quarterback Montell Cozart took time during Monday's practice to apologize to teammates for his play during the Jayhawks' 43-7 loss at Memphis and vowed to never let it happen again.By Matt Tait
Kansas sophomore Carlton Bragg last weekend spent a couple of days in Indianapolis, representing Kansas at the NCAA Leadership Development’s Elite Student-Athlete Symposium. By Matt Tait
The Los Angeles Lakers and former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson on Wednesday agreed to a one-year deal, making the former KU force the final player on the Lakers roster for the 2016-17 season.
In 7-foot freshman Udoka Azubuike, Kansas senior Landen Lucas has some company in the big man department on this year's KU roster. And he's loving every second of it. By Matt Tait
After taking on some extra coaching duties during recent weeks, Kansas football coach David Beaty is lightening the load on his shoulders in hopes of better results for the 1-2 Jayhawks. By Matt Tait
Listed in last season’s media guide at 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, KU sophomore Carlton Bragg confirmed Monday that he actually played closer to 215 pounds a season ago and now, after an offseason's worth of hard work, stands 6-10, 245 heading into the 2016-17 season. By Matt Tait
It’s Boot Camp time for the Kansas men's basketball program, and whether that means another run for the returning veterans or the first encounter for the freshmen and newcomers, all can agree that having the right mindset is the key to survival. By Matt Tait