Matt Tait (KUsports.com football reporter)
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.
- Charlie Weis confirms hire of Rice’s John Reagan as KU football offensive coordinator
- Clint Bowen also given defensive coordinator title
- December 7, 2013
- Rice football’s John Reagan is Kansas University’s new offensive-line coach and offensive coordinator, KU head coach Charlie Weis announced Saturday. By Matt Tait
- Football prep still committed to KU
- December 6, 2013
- When Class of 2014 center Jacob Bragg first heard that Kansas University offensive line coach Tim Grunhard was leaving, it took a second for him to process what had happened. By Matt Tait
- Meet the Jayhawks: A look at KU’s volleyball players
- December 5, 2013
- In the weeks and months following their run to the 2012 NCAA Tournament and the best season in school history, the members of Kansas University’s volleyball team began to notice a change in the way they were received by the public. By Matt Tait
- Help wanted: Harper solid, but KU women fall to Arkansas
- December 5, 2013
- Between handling point-guard duties, leading the team in points (19) and assists (7) and finishing as the Jayhawks’ second-leading rebounder (6), senior guard CeCe Harper did all she could to help the Kansas University women’s basketball team battle Arkansas on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse. It wasn’t enough. By Matt Tait
- KU women use game to support Summitt, Alzheimer’s awareness
- December 4, 2013
- None of the players on the Kansas University women’s basketball roster were recruited to Tennessee by legendary Volunteers coach Pat Summitt, but at 7 tonight, when the Jayhawks host Arkansas at Allen Fieldhouse, they’ll all be playing for her. By Matt Tait
- Georgia Military offensive tackle Devon Williams picks Kansas
- 08:25 a.m., December 3, 2013 Updated 11:57 p.m.
- Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis completed the Georgia Military sweep on Monday. Not long after reporting that Keyon Haughton, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound offensive lineman from the junior college had committed to Kansas, JayhawkSlant.com’s Jon Kirby got in touch with Haughton’s teammate, Devon Williams, and learned that he, too, had given an oral commitment to join the Jayhawks. By Matt Tait
- From underdogs to big dogs, KU volleyball still aiming higher
- December 3, 2013
- The Kansas University volleyball team has taken the court each night this season trying to crush its opponents’ dreams, but now, after earning the right to host first- and second-round NCAA Tournament matches Friday and Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse for the second year in a row, the realization of their own dreams seems closer than ever. By Matt Tait
- KU lands commitment from juco offensive lineman Keyon Haughton
- December 2, 2013
- Kansas University coach Charlie Weis and the KU football program on Monday picked up an oral commitment from Georgia Military offensive lineman Keyon Haughton, a 6-2, 300-pound lineman who visited campus over the weekend and picked Kansas after visiting with Weis on Monday morning.
- KU finale end for Grunhard
- December 2, 2013
- Saturday’s 31-10 loss to Kansas State at Memorial Stadium marked Kansas University offensive-line coach Tim Grunhard’s final game as a member of the KU coaching staff. By Matt Tait
- Kansas volleyball tickled to host NCAAs again
- December 2, 2013
- Even though the Jayhawks knew they were in the NCAA Tournament field, waiting until the waning moments of the selection show to find out for sure made for some anxious moments. By Matt Tait