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.
- New KU WR coach Kiesau hits ground running
- March 7, 2014
- Former Washington offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau was days away from a family trip to Hawaii — flip-flops and sunscreen packed — when he took a call from Kansas University O.C. John Reagan. Instead of soaking up the sun, Kiesau found himself on a 6 a.m. flight to Lawrence, where he met with Reagan and KU coach Charlie Weis about joining the Jayhawks as their wide-receivers coach. By Matt Tait
- Red Raiders fail to keep pace in rematch with KU
- March 5, 2014
- With a gut-wrenching, one-point home loss to Kansas still fresh in their minds, the Texas Tech Red Raiders took the floor at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night hoping to unleash another inspired effort. It never happened. Instead of playing with the Jayhawks wire to wire, the Red Raiders found themselves getting run out of the gym early in an 82-57 loss on KU’s Senior Night. By Matt Tait
- Installation of new offense this spring won’t slow KU football down
- March 5, 2014
- Despite the addition of a new offensive coordinator, a new wide receivers coach and a new offense, KU football coach Charlie Weis expects the Jayhawks’ offense to move fast this spring. By Matt Tait
- Pierson returns to Jayhawks’ lineup for spring football
- March 3, 2014
- Plenty of elements contributed to the offensive struggles of Kansas University’s football team during the 2013 season. The loss of Tony Pierson to injury might have been one of the biggest. As Pierson, who has completed the transition from running back to wide receiver, prepares for his final spring practices as a Jayhawk, he does so healthy. By Matt Tait
- Cowboys soak in excitement of upset victory over Kansas
- March 1, 2014
- After thousands of his new closest friends stormed the floor at Gallagher-Iba Arena to celebrate Oklahoma State’s 72-65 victory over No. 5 Kansas on Saturday night, OSU senior Markel Brown found himself crowd surfing above the jubilant crowd.By Matt Tait
- KU women fall to K-State, 76-68
- 21-0 first-half hole dooms Jayhawks
- 09:00 p.m., February 26, 2014 Updated 12:10 a.m.
- A 21-0 deficit during the game’s first six minutes proved to be too much for the Kansas University women’s basketball team to overcome in a 76-68 loss to Kansas State on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse. By Matt Tait
- KU women: KSU ‘biggest game of the year’
- February 26, 2014
- The Kansas University women’s basketball team has reached the point of the year when every remaining game magically transforms into the Jayhawks’ biggest game of the season. Tonight’s 7 p.m. matchup with Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse might have been that anyway. By Matt Tait
- Naadir Tharpe puts pesky Sooners away late
- February 24, 2014
- With the outcome of Monday’s game hanging in the balance and Oklahoma within striking distance of gutting out its first victory at Allen Fieldhouse since 1993, the littlest guy on the floor slew the Sooners. By Matt Tait
- Bernie Parmalee added to KU football staff
- February 24, 2014
- The Kansas University football program’s overhaul of its coaching staff continued Monday, when KU coach Charlie Weis announced the addition of Bernie Parmalee to the staff as a quality control coach for special teams.
- Jayhawks shut down speedy Texas PG in rematch
- February 22, 2014
- In the first meeting between Kansas and Texas this season, Longhorns guard Isaiah Taylor looked virtually unstoppable and scored 23 points in pretty much any manner he wanted during a 12-point UT victory in Austin, Texas. In the rematch, Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse, the 6-foot-1 freshman from Hayward, Calif., was not as fortunate. By Matt Tait