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 Kansas University, 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 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 Kansas University 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 included my work following the death of Wilt Chamberlain and a great series that my 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 to do stories on five each. 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 era and lived to tell about it. I never played football — unless you count games in the snow or flag football with friends — but have made it my daily goal to dig as deep as I can 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 May of 2007, my wife, Starr, and I were married in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where we were anointed by the natives as "Jamericans."
In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, basketball, golf, tennis, yard games, playing guitar, fantasy sports and cheering for any and all Colorado teams.
Wearing a black, button-up KU shirt, khaki shorts and enormous blue-and-white adidas shoes, Kansas University freshman Cheick Diallo sat at the podium in the media room at the Maui Invitational with a look of relief splashed across his face. By Matt Tait
It makes little sense that, with its best shooter sitting at home back on the mainland, the Kansas University men's basketball team would roll through the field at the Maui Invitational with the three-pointer serving as the team's most dangerous weapon. By Matt Tait
Kansas University coach Bill Self is finally a Maui Invitational champion. Self and the No. 5 Jayhawks brought home the coach's first Maui title in four tries — he previously was 0-for-2 at KU — with a 70-63 victory over No. 19 Vanderbilt on Wednesday night at Lahaina Civic Center. By Matt Tait
For the second night in a row, the Kansas University men's basketball team lit up the first-half scoreboard for more than 50 points during Tuesday's 92-73 victory over UCLA in the Maui Invitational semifinals.
Tuesday night, during a 92-73 slaughter of UCLA in the Maui Invitational semifinals at Lahaina Civic Center, sophomore guard Devonté Graham showed with absolute certainty that all of that attention on the scoring end of the floor did not do any harm to his ability to defend. By Matt Tait
Picking up right where they left off in Monday's 123-point explosion against Div. II Chaminade, the Jayhawks raced out to a 59-point first half and slaughtered UCLA in the Maui Invitational semis, 92-73, at Lahaina Civic Center on Tuesday night.
It's not that Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird was in the gambling mood, more that he knew packing the paint and daring Kansas to shoot was his team's only shot. It didn't work.
After a long trip and all of the distractions that paradise has to offer, a sluggish and sloppy victory by Kansas to open the Maui Invitational might not have surprised anybody, especially when you consider that Chaminade has been known to get hot from three-point range and ride the triple to some serious point totals. On Monday, it was Kansas that put up the serious point total, storming to a 123-72 victory. By Matt Tait
It wasn't always pretty, but it definitely didn't need to be as the Kansas University men's basketball team overpowered the smaller host school, Chaminade, 123-72, in the opening round of the Maui Invitational at Lahaina Civic Center.
There’s still something more than a little strange about seeing former Kansas University great Danny Manning decked out in colors other than crimson and blue. By Matt Tait