Johnny Smith, Ph.D.

Shaw Assistant Professor in Sports, Society, and Technology

Member Of:
  • School of History and Sociology
Fax Number:
Office Location:
Old CE Building G21
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Johnny Smith is the Julius C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports, Society, and Technology and an Assistant Professor of History. His research focuses on the history of sports and American culture.

His newest book, Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X (written with Randy Roberts), illuminates the pivotal relationship between the famous boxer and the Muslim minister. Blood Brothers reveals how Malcolm X awakened Cassius Clay's political consciousness. This dynamic brotherhood, fused together by racial pride and self-determination, transformed the new heavyweight champion--Muhammad Ali--into an international symbol of Black Power. In 2017, Blood Brothers won the North American Society for Sport History Book Award.

His first book, The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty That Changed College Basketball  explores the emergence of college basketball as a national pastime and the political conflicts in college athletics during the 1960s and 1970s.  In 2014, Choice named The Sons of Westwood an "Outstanding Academic Title."

His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Reviews in American History, among others.  Recently, he published "The Job Is Football: The Myth of the Student-Athlete" in The American Historian (August 2016).

In 2017, Professor Smith was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.  He has also won numerous teaching awards at Georgia Tech, including the Class of 1940 Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award (2017, 2016, 2014), the CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teacing Excellence Award (2015), and the Ivan Allen College Teacher of the Year Award (2014).

  • Ph.D., Purdue University, May 2011
  • M.A., Western Michigan University, May 2006
  • B.A., Michigan State University, May 2004
Awards and
  • Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Award, Georgia Tech, Spring 2016
Areas of
  • History Of American Sports
Research Fields:
  • U.S. Society and Politics/Policy Perspectives
  • United States
  • Inequality and Social Justice
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Sports
  • HIST-2112: United States since 1877
  • HTS-2015: History Sports America
  • HTS-2813: Special Topics
  • HTS-3803: Special Topics
  • HTS-3823: Special Topics
  • HTS-4001: Seminar in US History