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.
The lights were on well past midnight in the gymnasium at McCarthy Hall, where the Kansas men’s basketball players reside. And would anyone be surprised if KU junior Dedric Lawson was the one in there using that electricity? By Matt Tait
If it’s an identity the second-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team is seeking, the Jayhawks may have found it Monday night. Their veterans will lead them. Six days after watching an all-freshman backcourt lead the team to victory on the bright lights, big city stage at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, a couple of old heads helped Kansas survive a legitimate scare from a good Vermont team, 84-68, at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait
A five-point win over the No. 10 team in the country on one of the nation’s biggest college basketball stages was not enough for the Kansas men’s basketball team to hold on to its No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25. But don’t blame the Jayhawks.
A look at some of the keys for top-ranked Kansas in tonight's regular season, home opener against Vermont at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait
The dream ending was there for the taking. And Kansas couldn’t grab it. By Matt Tait
As he predicted he might, Kansas coach Bill Self went 10 deep during Tuesday’s victory over No. 10 Michigan State in Indianapolis. And the luxury of KU’s added depth played a huge role in determining the outcome of the top-ranked Jayhawks’ season opener. By Matt Tait
I ran into Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long on Tuesday night in Indianapolis, and while chatting with him before KU’s basketball victory over Michigan State we talked a little football, too. By Matt Tait
Indianapolis — It took until a Big 12 Conference game after the first of the year last season for Kansas coach Bill Self to be faced with the kind of dilemma he saw in Game 1 of the 2018-19 season on Tuesday night.
Indianapolis – Kansas freshman Devon Dotson had a simple way of explaining how he and fellow freshman Quentin Grimes exploded onto the college basketball scene during Tuesday’s 92-87 victory by top-ranked Kansas over No. 10 Michigan State at the Champions Classic in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
A look at some of the keys for top-ranked Kansas in tonight's Champions Classic clash with No. 10 Michigan State at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. By Matt Tait