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.
- Tied to the end: Graham, Mykhailiuk officially leave Kansas 13 picks apart in 2018 NBA Draft
- Fellow former Jayhawks Malik Newman, Billy Preston not selected
- June 21, 2018
- Forever linked during their KU careers thanks to their close friendship, sweet shooting strokes and ability to lead Kansas to a lot of victories during the past four seasons, Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk delivered one final act together as Jayhawks on Thursday night by becoming second round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. By Matt Tait
- Los Angeles Lakers snag Svi Mykhailiuk with 47th pick in 2018 NBA Draft
- June 21, 2018
- He was seated in the stands at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with his agent, coach from Ukraine, parents and girlfriend, when former Kansas guard Svi Mykhailiuk heard his name called out in this year’s NBA Draft. By Matt Tait
- KU’s Devonte’ Graham picked No. 34 overall by Atlanta, quickly traded to Charlotte
- June 21, 2018
- As predicted by most mock drafts throughout the past several weeks, former Kansas point guard Devonte’ Graham became the first KU player selected in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night, when the Atlanta Hawks picked him with the fourth pick of the second round, No. 34 overall. By Matt Tait
- It’s time! Four Jayhawks hope to hear names called in tonight’s NBA draft in New York
- June 21, 2018
- Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, who has spent his entire 33-year coaching career in college basketball, has a phrase he uses for the way prospects view their chances at making it in the NBA when draft time rolls around. By Matt Tait
- KU freshman Quentin Grimes handed heavy praise by new head coach
- June 19, 2018
- With his latest prized pupil sitting to his right and their recently claimed gold medals tucked safely away in their respective homes, Kansas coach Bill Self on Tuesday heaped the kind of praise onto KU guard Quentin Grimes that is not often attached to a true freshman. By Matt Tait
- KU coach Bill Self still plans to meet with Lagerald Vick about future plans
- June 19, 2018
- Kansas basketball coach Bill Self on Tuesday stopped short of saying that the door was completely closed for Lagerald Vick to return to Kansas for his senior season. And it’s clear, at least as of Tuesday, that Self and Vick will sit down for a conversation about the Memphis native’s options and desires in the coming days. But whether that meeting leads to the 6-foot-5 guard rejoining the Jayhawks for one more run is uncertain. By Matt Tait
- Potential AD candidates at Kansas forever a part of Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione’s tree
- June 19, 2018
- As the University of Kansas continues its search for a new athletic director, Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione recently took time to discuss the characteristics of those groomed under him who may be in the running for the KU job. By Matt Tait
- KU coach Bill Self eager to see commitment level of trio of transfers
- June 17, 2018
- Now that Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has finished leading Team USA to a gold medal at the U18 FIBA Americas tournament, Self can turn his attention back to the Jayhawks and preparation for a fast-approaching 2018-19 season. By Matt Tait
- 10th Rock Chalk Roundball Classic just one event in busy charity weekend
- June 13, 2018
- One of the biggest Kansas basketball celebration weekends of the year is set to tip off Thursday night, when Brian Hanni’s 10th annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic charity basketball game gets going at 7 p.m. at Free State High. By Matt Tait
- Dedric Lawson says brother, K.J., has ‘improved a lot’
- June 7, 2018
- With their red-shirt year now behind them, Memphis transfers Dedric and K.J. Lawson have jumped in feet first to their first official season as Jayhawks. But just because it was Dedric who drew most of the attention and praise during the Lawson’s red-shirt season does not mean that K.J. is merely here as an afterthought. By Matt Tait