We're pleased as can be to announce our newest hire: Matthew Watkins.
Currently the supremely talented Dallas County government reporter for The Dallas Morning News, Matthew is coming aboard to cover higher education for us — but not just higher ed as we've defined it for the last five years. With his arrival, we're expanding the beat to include something we've long aspired to investigate: the money and influence behind college sports.
We know how much our Texas-government-obsessed readers care about the Big 12 and the SEC. But this isn't about chasing traffic with box scores. It's the public policy and budgetary implications that we're interested in — the growing costs and politics of coaching, recruiting and professional-grade stadiums, as well as the intersection of athletics and academics.
We think Matthew is a perfect fit. He's been a star at the News, breaking big stories around the indictment of a powerful county commissioner and the local response to Ebola. He’s won more top honors from the Texas APME than I can count on one hand. But we first started coveting him way back when we launched in late 2009, when he was still a staff writer at The Bryan-College Station Eagle. There he covered everything from murder trials and natural disasters to, yes, college sports.
A Texas A&M grad, Matthew is coming back to his hometown of Austin with his wife, Susan, and his 2-year-old daughter. He starts on March 30 — in time to experience the last two (we hope) months of the 2015 legislative session, as well as the run-up to the next football season. We can't wait to have him on Team Trib.