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.
In 13th seeded Northeastern, No. 4 Kansas will face one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country. The Huskies enter Thursday's 3 p.m. game with Kansas in Salt Lake City shooting 38.8 percent from 3-point range, which ranks them 14th in the nation. KU's 3-point D will be put to the test for 40 minutes. Here's a quick look back at how the Jayhawks' 3-point defense fared during the first 34 games of the 2018-19 season. By Matt Tait
The consecutive Big 12 Conference title streak might be dead, but by earning a spot in this year’s NCAA Tournament, the Kansas men’s basketball program kept alive another impressive streak. When things get going in the Big Dance later this week, the Jayhawks will be playing in their 30th consecutive NCAA Tournament, dating back to the 1989-90 season.
What becomes of the Jayhawks this postseason remains to be seen, but here are five reasons KU fans can be optimistic about their team’s chances to make a run.
Kansas freshman Devon Dotson has looked forward to a day like Sunday for as long as he can remember. That was what made it a bit torturous for Dotson and his Kansas teammates on Sunday, when they had to wait through three sets of commercials and all the way to the final region to learn that the Jayhawks had drawn a No. 4 seed in the Midwest region and would play No. 13 Northeastern at 3 p.m. Thursday in Salt Lake City. By Matt Tait
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self’s first thought when the 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed Sunday evening could be boiled down to a single word. By Matt Tait
Kansas City, Mo. — All season, whenever the Jayhawks had a bad outing on a Saturday, the quickest they could hope to put it behind them and move forward from their latest loss was two days away.
Kansas City, Mo. — If you’re looking for black-and-white examples of how Iowa State handed Kansas its latest loss in the Big 12 tournament title game on Saturday night at Sprint Center, look no further than the 78-66 final score and the fact that the Cyclones led for more than 36 minutes of the 40-minute game. Matt Tait
Kansas City, Mo. — The stage is set for the 2019 Big 12 tournament title game and it’s No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 5 Iowa State for the hardware and confetti. But Kansas coach Bill Self is not exactly planning on his team having the home-court advantage in today’s 5 p.m. final like the Jayhawks are accustomed to inside Sprint Center. By Matt Tait
Kansas City, Mo. — The shot was big, the foul was foolish but the pass was pristine. Late in what was, in just about every way, a sluggish offensive half for the third-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in Friday’s Big 12 semifinal against West Virginia at Sprint Center, freshman point guard Devon Dotson darted his way up the floor after a West Virginia miss and needed about three steps to know where he was headed. Matt Tait
Kansas City, Mo. — Bigger was better for the 17th-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 Big 12 tournament. In addition to playing with a bigger seed than they had in a decade, the third-seeded Jayhawks got a major lift from freshman big man David McCormack to power past 6th-seeded Texas, 65-57, Thursday night at Sprint Center. Matt Tait