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 both grew up in Kansas, my mom attended Lawrence High and my dad is a Shawnee Mission South graduate. Because of that 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 Jordan's picture. Other highlights from my time at the UDK include my work following the death of Wilt Chamberlain and a fun 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 10 athletes and Sam and I split up the names and did five feature 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 (now Jayhawk Slant) — 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 a student at LHS still are there today and it has been an absolute blast reconnecting with them.
In February of 2010, my job 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, the front end of the David Beaty era 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 December of 2018, I was promoted to Sports Editor of the Journal-World and replaced my longtime boss and friend, Tom Keegan, who left to become a columnist for the Boston Herald, closer to his hometown of Rochester, New York. Yet another new role brought with it exciting opportunities and challenges and fulfilled a destiny of sorts.
Back when I was in 8th grade at West Junior High, one of my teachers gave an assignment that asked us to write a paper about someone who had a job that we might someday want to do. I chose former Journal-World Sports Editor Chuck Woodling, Keegan's predecessor, and here I am today.
In my spare time, in addition to laughing and loving life with my wife, Allison, and stepdaughter, Kate, I enjoy traveling, hanging out at any beach or pool, playing basketball, golf, tennis, yard games, guitar and fantasy sports and cheering for any and all Colorado sports teams.
After missing the last two games with what Kansas football coach Lance Leipold called “a lower extremity” injury, KU running back Ky Thomas is on track to play again this weekend. By Matt Tait
The 5-0 Kansas football team in Week 6 will get a taste of what some of its opponents have had to face during the 19th-ranked Jayhawks’ hot start to the season. By Matt Tait
Linebacker Gavin Potter is no longer with the Kansas football program, Kansas football coach Lance Leipold confirmed on Tuesday. By Matt Tait
Kansas football coach Lance Leipold said Tuesday that running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. will be out for “an extended period of time” because of an undisclosed injury suffered during KU’s 14-11 win over Iowa State last weekend. By Matt Tait
It’s clear that fast starts and early wins is nothing new to Leipold and the many members of his coaching staff who have been on this ride with him. But the second-year KU coach admitted after last Saturday’s home win over Iowa State that there was something new about racing out to a 5-0 start at Kansas. By Matt Tait
The Kansas football team’s streak of 674 consecutive weeks of being unranked ended Sunday, when the Jayhawks jumped into both the Associated Press Top 25, at No. 19, and the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 17. By Matt Tait
While the goal certainly was not to stall his team’s explosive offense, Kansas football coach Lance Leipold said Saturday that the Jayhawks’ conservative approach in the 14-11 win over Iowa State was by design. By Matt Tait
After two weeks of clamoring for college football’s biggest pregame show to come to Lawrence, the University of Kansas finally made the cut on Saturday night. Next week, when the 5-0 Jayhawks take on 4-0 TCU at 11 a.m. Saturday, ESPN’s College Gameday will be in Lawrence to feature the Kansas football program for the first time in program history. By Matt Tait
Here’s a quick look at some of the more notable sounds and scenes from the KU sideline following the Jayhawks’ three-point win over Iowa State on Saturday that moved Kansas to 5-0. By Matt Tait
Iowa State missed a 37-yard field goal attempt with 32 seconds remaining and Kansas held on to improve to 5-0 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.