Johnny Smith

Julius C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports History

Member Of:
  • School of History and Sociology
Fax Number:404-894-0535
Office Location: Old CE Building G21
Office Hours: T/R 2:00-3:00 (Please email to make an appointment)
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Johnny Smith is the Julius C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports History and Associate Professor of History. 

Smith's research focuses on the history of American sports and American popular culture. He has authored five books: Jumpman: The Making and Meaning of Michael Jordan; War Fever: Boston, Baseball, and America in the Shadow of the Great War (written with Randy Roberts); A Season in the Sun: The Rise of Mickey Mantle (written with Randy Roberts); Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X (written with Randy Roberts); and The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty That Changed College Basketball

He has won multiple book honors: Blood Brothers received the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) Book Award; Choice named The Sons of Westwood an "Outstanding Academic Title"; and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) recognized War Fever with the Larry Ritter Book Award.

In 2021, Netflix released Blood Brothers: Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, a feature documentary based on Smith's book.

His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Slate, ESPN's The Undefeated, Smithsonian Magazine, Reviews in American History, and The American Historian, among others. 

In 2017, Professor Smith was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians.  He is also a two-time recipient of the Journal of Sport History's Best Article Award (2009; 2018).

  • Ph.D., Purdue University, May 2011
  • M.A., Western Michigan University, May 2006
  • B.A., Michigan State University, May 2004
Awards and
  • Student Recognition of Excellence in Teaching: Class of 1934 Award, Georgia Tech, 2020
  • Dean's Distinguished Award For Innovation In Education, Georgia Tech, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Spring 2019
  • Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award, Georgia Tech, 2019
  • Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award, Georgia Tech, 2017
  • Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award, Georgia Tech, 2016
  • CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, Georgia Tech, 2015
  • Class of 1969 Teaching Fellow, Georgia Tech, 2014
  • Teacher of the Year, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Georgia Tech, 2014
  • Class of 1940 Course Survey Teaching Effectiveness Award, Georgia Tech, 2014
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
  • HTS-4814: Special Topics