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 injury-plagued career of Kansas volleyball player Patricia Montero has taken another hit.
Monday was a feet-shuffling, legs-turning, lungs-working-overtime kind of morning for the members of the Kansas basketball program, who kicked off another year of Bill Self boot camp at 6 a.m., at the Jayhawks’ practice gym. By Matt Tait
Christian Braun’s opportunity to make a name for himself as a Kansas basketball player may still be a ways out. But, according to KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott, the latest KU commitment is well on his way to following in the footsteps of a former KU star who later wrote a book about the way he played. By Matt Tait
It’s boot camp time for the Kansas basketball program, the two-week conditioning grind that serves as a way to test and shape the minds of the Jayhawks as much as their bodies. By Matt Tait
It’s been a year since Kansas basketball coach Bill Self stood on a brightly lit stage in Springfield, Mass., and saw his informal title instantly transform from elite college coach and national champion to Hall of Famer. But in the 12 months since that special night, when Self celebrated with nearly 150 family, friends and former players, not much has changed for the Bill Self the basketball coach. By Matt Tait
With dates for marquee games against Michigan State, Villanova and Kentucky already known, the Kansas basketball program officially learned what its road to a 15th consecutive Big 12 title would look like on Wednesday, when the Big 12 Conference released the Big 12 portion of the 2018-19 schedule. By Matt Tait
His goal, these days, is to emerge victorious at least twice a year in his matchups with his alma mater. But that did not stop Oklahoma State University’s Alumni Association from honoring Bill Self as Distinguished Alumni Award recipients for 2018. By Matt Tait
Hernia surgery kept Kansas coach Bill Self mostly away from his team during the Jayhawks’ first week on campus, but before he went into the operating room last Thursday, Self saw enough to know where the 2018-19 team stood entering the start of the fall semester. By Matt Tait
Seated seven stories down, near the corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self craned his neck to watch assistant coach Kurtis Townsend and former KU basketball players Jeremy Case and Jeff Hawkins rappel down the 888 Lofts building for Saturday’s “Over The Edge” charity event. By Matt Tait
It was billed as the day Kansas basketball coach Bill Self would go “Over the Edge” and rappel down a seven-story building for charity. Instead, the KU coach will watch staff members Kurtis Townsend and Jeremy Case scale down the 888 Lofts building in his place. By Matt Tait