Matt Baker, Colleges Reporter

Matt Baker

Colleges Reporter

I love college football more than everything but my son, my wife and my dog, so I have the perfect job covering the sport for the Tampa Bay Times. Even though I grew up in a basketball state (Indiana) and graduated from a non-football power (Northwestern University), I’m fascinated by the game, the traditions and the pageantry. I joined the Times in July 2011 after stops at the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader and Tulsa (Okla.) World. Since then, I’ve covered almost everything — high schools, the Bucs, the Rays, the Lightning and auto racing — before becoming a full-time college sports reporter before the 2015. When I’m not working, I’m usually on a run, chasing a toddler around and waiting for kickoff.

Daytona 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr. starting to miss racing

Former NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. addresses reporters Sunday morning before the Daytona 500. (TIMES | Matt Baker )
‘You never get tired of driving a race car.’

Daytona 500: Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus looking for success apart

Jimmie Johnson rides down pit road after driver introductions before the first of two qualifying auto races for the NASCAR Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Daytona Beach. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
NASCAR’s now-former power couple found spots of separate success last weekend.

Greg Frey out as FSU football offensive line coach

Florida State Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Greg Frey is seen in a smartphone image as he is interviewed during the NCAA college football media day Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
The Clearwater High and Florida State alumnus has heavily recruited Tampa Bay in his career.

Daytona 500: Two years after his last NASCAR race, Casey Mears is back

Casey Mears holds up a hat from his new sponsor Rim Ryderz at NASCAR Daytona 500 auto racing media day at Daytona International Speedway, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Rim Ryderz makes wheel rims for skateboards. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
The 40-year-old had to rummage through piles of stuff at home to find his NASCAR gear before qualifying.

Todd Grantham staying at Florida, Jim Leavitt out at Oregon

Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham arrives for Gator Walk before the game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 8, 2018 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
Wednesday night offered some defensive coordinator news with notable state ties.