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.
Salt Lake City — Saturday night, during the Jayhawks’ 89-75 loss to Auburn, Kansas coach Bill Self elected to start four freshmen — and five first-time NCAA Tournament participants — for the 13th consecutive game, which, Self believed, put a little perspective on what the Jayhawks accomplished and endured during the 2018-19 season.
Salt Lake City — Even if you had not seen a single second of Saturday’s first half at Vivint Smart Home Arena, the vision of the Jayhawks walking off the floor at halftime would have told you all you needed to know. By Matt Tait
A look at some of the keys for 4th-seeded Kansas in tonight's second-round NCAA Tournament clash with No. 5 seed Auburn at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. By Matt Tait
Salt Lake City – By the time the 4th-seeded Kansas men’s basketball team had moved on to preparing for No. 5 seed Auburn in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the hard work was already done. By Matt Tait
Salt Lake City — Defense, defense, defense. That was the focus all week for the 4th-seeded Kansas men’s basketball team ahead of its first-round, NCAA Tournament matchup with hot-shooting Northeastern.
Salt Lake City — They combined for 38 points, 14 rebounds and one big victory while helping lead No. 4 seed Kansas to Thursday’s 87-53, first-round victory over No. 13 Northeastern at Vivint Smart Home Arena. But the one statistic that made the whole thing possible may have been an assist from mom. Matt Tait
A look at some of the keys for 4th-seeded Kansas in today's first-round NCAA Touranment matchup with No. 13 seed Northeastern at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. By Matt Tait
Kansas coach Bill Self hinted this week that he may be looking at tweaking his starting lineup ahead of Thursday’s 3 p.m. NCAA Tournament opener against No. 13 seed Northeastern at Vivint Smart Home Arena. But whether he switches things up or starts the same five he has for the past 11 games, Self can rest easy knowing he has a player on his roster named Marcus Garrett, who gives him maximum lineup flexibility, from the bench to pregame introductions and the backcourt to the paint. By Matt Tait
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has a saying he uses this time of year that probably applies to this KU team better than most during his 16-year run with the Jayhawks. “When you’ve got a great player, which we do, you can always ride that guy." By Matt Tait
Salt Lake City — Usually, by now, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has done a dozen different radio and television interviews and talked until he was blue in the face about his team’s status entering the NCAA Tournament, both as a top contender and as a general representative of one of the greatest sporting events on the calendar each year. But there’s been nothing typical about the 4th-seeded Jayhawks’ pre-tourney status this season.