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.
- McLemore shows off athleticism at NBA combine
- May 17, 2013
- Friday’s NBA’s pre-draft combine featured former Kansas star Ben McLemore and dozens of other draft hopefuls working through a series of on-the-court tests that will in some small way help determine where they are slotted in the June 27 draft. By Matt Tait
- LHS baseball falls in final
- May 16, 2013
- Less than five hours after pounding out 12 runs on 13 hits to advance to the regional title game at Eisenhower Baseball Complex, Lawrence High’s baseball team mustered just two hits in a 2-0 loss to second-seeded Manhattan. By Matt Tait
- KU football lands commitment from East St. Louis linebacker
- May 14, 2013
- Talk about a solid encore. A few hours after the Kansas University men’s basketball program landed Andrew Wiggins, the top player in the Class of 2013, the KU football program picked up an oral commitment from linebacker Kyron Watson, the No. 4-ranked outside linebacker in the country, according to ESPN.com.
- Tanner Hawkinson shows versatility in camp
- May 13, 2013
- Tanner Hawkinson’s transition from tackle to the interior took another step forward last weekend at Cincinnati Bengals rookie minicamp. By Matt Tait
- Lost weekend: KU baseball swept by league-leading KSU
- May 12, 2013
- For the third straight day, Kansas State flexed its offensive muscles and flashed its defensive leather, both of which were simply too much for the Jayhawks to overcome in a 7-3 baseball loss to the Wildcats. By Matt Tait
- Hard-hitting Wildcats top Jayhawks with nine-run rally
- May 12, 2013
- Facing a six-run deficit heading into the top of Saturday’s fourth inning, Kansas State responded with nine unanswered runs over the next five innings to win Game 2 of the crucial Sunflower Showdown series against Kansas University, 9-6. By Matt Tait
- Close call: Wildcats win Sunflower Showdown baseball opener
- May 11, 2013
- Connor McKay hit for the cycle, but it wasn’t enough for Kansas in a 4-3 loss to Kansas State in the opening game of a huge three-game series with Kansas State. By Matt Tait
- LHS, FSHS pitchers shine in 10-inning showdown duel
- May 10, 2013
- Although a few clutch at-bats in extra innings turned out to be the difference during Thursday’s City Showdown won by Lawrence High, 2-1, in 10 innings, at Kansas University’s Hoglund Ballpark, neither LHS or Free State would have reached that point had it not been for the four strong outings on the mound that came before it. By Matt Tait
- Unheralded closer Piché becomes dominant force for KU
- May 10, 2013
- Nothing about the path Kansas University pitcher Jordan Piché took to get to KU stands out, but the first-year Jayhawk has set himself apart as one of the nation’s best closers. By Matt Tait
- Former KU teammates: Pick should catch on quick as coach
- May 8, 2013
- Kale Pick, a Dodge City native and former Kansas University wide receiver, officially joined KU football coach Charlie Weis’ staff as a graduate assistant on Monday. Those who called Pick a teammate during recent years believe he will bring a lot to the Jayhawks’ passing game. By Matt Tait