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.
Injured Kansas junior Udoka Azubuike watched his top-ranked teammates knock off No. 17 Villanova, 74-71 at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday morning, the second consecutive outing that a sprained right ankle kept Azubuike on the bench.
Kansas senior Lagerald Vick sure found a memorable way to put a bad week behind him. After coming off of the bench and struggling offensively during recent KU victories over Wofford and New Mexico State, Vick was back in the starting lineup and back on the red-hot railway during the top-ranked Jayhawks’ 74-71 win over No. 17 Villanova on Saturday morning at Allen Fieldhouse.
A look at some of the keys for top-ranked Kansas in today's Allen Fieldhouse showdown with No. 17 Villanova in a rematch of last season's Final Four clash in San Antonio. By Matt Tait
Not long after the Kansas men’s basketball team picked up a survive-by-the-skin-of-your-teeth victory over New Mexico State last Saturday, junior forward Dedric Lawson received a phone call about the Jayhawks’ future. By Matt Tait
Kansas coach Bill Self and Villanova coach Jay Wright have differing thoughts when watching the replay of last year’s Final Four meeting between the two programs in San Antonio. And they might not quite be what you would expect. By Matt Tait
To the dreamy, starry-eyed Kansas basketball fan, Villanova coach Jay Wright’s walk into Allen Fieldhouse for Saturday’s 11 a.m. clash with top-ranked Kansas might inspire visions of Wright someday taking a similar stroll out of the home team’s tunnel onto James Naismith Court. By Matt Tait
All right, all right, all right. I know what you’re thinking. And I’m here to tell you to stop. Look, I don’t blame you if you roll your eyes and quietly think to yourself, ‘Here we go again,’ every time Kansas lands a commitment from a transfer quarterback. Hey, you might be right. By Matt Tait
His front-court teammate called him the player of the game and, not five minutes later, his coach said he was merely OK. That was Kansas junior Mitch Lightfoot’s Saturday night during the Jayhawks’ 63-60 squeaker against New Mexico State and few players on this KU roster are better equipped to handle that kind of hot-and-cold critique about the same body of work. By Matt Tait
The Kansas men's basketball team left Sprint Center on Saturday night with a 63-60 victory over New Mexico State and a handful of questions about where the Jayhawks are at, mentally, as they approach mid-December. By Matt Tait
The play call was simple enough, and it wound up saving Kansas during a 63-60, grind-it-out victory over New Mexico State on Saturday night. After the game, Lawson credited the inbounds play for getting him going, but said “just seeing the ball go through the net” was more important than anything specific about the action. By Matt Tait