Matt Tait (KUsports.com men's basketball reporter/KUsports.com Editor)
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.
- Hack-a-Dok: Free-throw shooting woes send KU home from Oklahoma in defeat
- January 23, 2018
- A season-long concern that had not yet fully hurt the Kansas basketball team did the Jayhawks in on Tuesday night, when 12th-ranked Oklahoma used an intentional-foul strategy on KU big man Udoka Azubuike during the game’s final four minutes to knock off No. 5 Kansas, 85-80, at Lloyd Noble Center. By Matt Tait
- Game day Breakdown: No. 5 KU basketball at No. 12 Oklahoma
- January 23, 2018
- A look at some of the keys for fifth-ranked Kansas in tonight’s 6 p.m. showdown with freshman sensation Trae Young and No. 12 Oklahoma at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma. By Matt Tait
- Jayhawks jump to No. 5 in latest AP Poll
- January 22, 2018
- The Kansas men’s basketball team continued its climb in the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week, jumping five spots from No. 10 to No. 5 in the latest rankings released Monday afternoon. By Matt Tait
- KU no stranger to tight games dominating Big 12 play so far this season
- January 21, 2018
- With close games being the norm so far this season in the Big 12, the Kansas men’s basketball team continues to do impressive stuff in tight games. By Matt Tait
- Malik Newman bails out Jayhawks in crunch time to beat Baylor
- January 20, 2018
- “Coach’s motto, every time the game gets close, is players make plays, coaches don’t win games,” Malik Newman said. On Saturday evening at Allen Fieldhouse, the 10th-ranked Jayhawks saw a heck of a player make all kinds of plays down the stretch to pull out yet another too-close-for-comfort Big 12 victory, 70-67, that Kansas nearly lost control of down the stretch. By Matt Tait
- Notebook: Jayhawks say it was ‘tough’ to lose freshman Billy Preston, wish him luck in Bosnia
- January 20, 2018
- On the eve of his big performance during Saturday’s 70-67 victory over Baylor, Kansas sophomore Malik Newman spent nearly all of his time hanging out with teammate Billy Preston. By Matt Tait
- Freshman forward Billy Preston signs with European professional team, ends KU career
- 08:02 a.m., January 20, 2018 Updated 09:49 a.m.
- After spending months trying to clear up his eligibility, KU freshman Billy Preston has signed a contract with BC Igokea of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will end his Kansas career without the former McDonald’s All-American and highly touted prospect having played a single game for the Jayhawks.By Matt Tait
- Game day Breakdown: No. 10 KU basketball vs. Baylor
- January 20, 2018
- A look at some of the keys for 10th-ranked Kansas in tonight’s home showdown with the visiting Baylor Bears. By Matt Tait
- Getting Comfortable: KU freshman Silvio De Sousa taking small steps toward progress and loving every one of them
- January 18, 2018
- Speaking publicly for the first time since arriving at Kansas after graduating early from IMG Academy in Florida, freshman forward Silvio De Sousa on Thursday was asked about the pressure he felt from having to hit the ground running and help the thin Kansas frontcourt immediately. By Matt Tait
- 20 years later, Wilt Chamberlain’s return to Kansas still produces chills
- January 17, 2018
- Twenty years ago Wednesday, a giant returned to Allen Fieldhouse. His name was Wilt Chamberlain, he, somehow, still managed to squeeze into his old letter jacket and he was in Lawrence for the first time in more than 20 years. By Matt Tait