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.
- KU center Udoka Azubuike expected to return to full-contact drills next week
- May 25, 2017
- Kansas center Udoka Azubuike’s recovery from the wrist injury that cost him the final three months and 25 games of the 2016-17 season remains in good shape. By Matt Tait
- Bill Self wants to see a more aggressive Svi Mykhailiuk during senior season
- May 25, 2017
- Less than 18 hours after learning that junior Svi Mykhailiuk would return to Kansas for his senior season, KU basketball coach Bill Self already was thinking about what more the Ukrainian wing could do to help the Jayhawks in 2017-18. By Matt Tait
- Kansas basketball to host Texas A&M in 2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge
- May 25, 2017
- The Big 12, SEC and ESPN on Thursday released the match-ups for college basketball’s 2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge and the Jayhawks are in line to face a familiar foe. By Matt Tait
- KU’s Self takes over as NABC president
- May 23, 2017
- A member of the board of directors since 2007, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self is set to begin his two-year stint as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the NABC announced Tuesday. By Matt Tait
- Dynamic four-guard lineup required complete buy-in from Kansas coaches, players
- May 21, 2017
- When Kansas basketball assistant coach Kurtis Townsend first got wind of the idea that KU coach Bill Self wanted to tinker with a four-guard lineup for the 2016-17 season, Townsend was hardly surprised. By Matt Tait
- Newest KU walk-on Chris Teahan eager to suit up for Jayhawks
- May 20, 2017
- Last month, 6-foot-5, 180-pound shooting guard Chris Teahan announced that he would join the Kansas basketball team as a walk-on this summer. With only graduation and a couple of weeks of waiting standing between him and his dream school, the former Rockhurst High standout is ready to roll. By Matt Tait
- List of schools pursuing former Jayhawk Dwight Coleby starting to take shape
- May 18, 2017
- Stephen F. Austin site, TheSawmill.com, reported Thursday that the school is one of several programs considering adding Kansas big man Dwight Coleby. By Matt Tait
- Senior forward Dwight Coleby leaving Kansas basketball program
- Big man’s departure clears up KU’s scholarship questions
- May 15, 2017
- Kansas forward Dwight Coleby, who graduated from KU on Sunday, announced Monday evening that he will be leaving Lawrence and seeking playing time elsewhere.By Matt Tait
- Jayhawks drop series finale to K-State, 10-3
- May 14, 2017
- The Kansas baseball team may have lost the series finale with K-State, 10-3 on a sunny Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark, but the end of the Jayhawks’ eight-game winning streak did not leave them feeling like it was the end of the world thanks to victories in the first two games of the series, which gave KU its first series win over the Wildcats since 2014. By Matt Tait
- KU coach Bill Self says Dwight Coleby is considering his future at Kansas
- May 14, 2017
- Kansas forward Dwight Coleby’s walk down Campanile Hill on Sunday during KU’s graduation festivities made his status as a college graduate official. And that makes his immediate future a little more interesting. By Matt Tait