Johnny Smith is an historian of the twentieth century United States, specializing in race, sports, and popular culture. He is also the undergraduate adviser for the Sports, Society, and Technology (SST) program.
His newest book, Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, is the first in-depth portrait of the pivotal relationship between the famous boxer and the Muslim minister. Blood Brothers reveals how Malcolm molded Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali, helping him become an international symbol of black pride and black independence.
His first book, The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty That Changed College Basketball (University of Illinois Press) explores the emergence of college basketball as a national pastime and the political conflicts in college athletics during the 1960s and 1970s. Choice named The Sons of Westwood an "Outstanding Academic Title."
He teaches a range of courses, including: American History since 1877; History of Sports in America; Boxing, Race, and American Culture; and a seminar on Sports and Modern America.
In the spring of 2015, Professor Smith received the CETL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. In 2014, he received the Ivan Allen College Teacher of the Year Award. He was also selected as a Class of 1969 Teaching Fellow during the fall 2014 semester.