50 Years of NASSH

As part of NASSH's fiftieth anniversary, the NASSH 50 Subcommittee is collecting information about the history of the organization. The subcommittee therefore invites feedback on The  NASSH Timeline , created by Ron Smith, by clicking the heart icon above.

Please feel free to add comments and/or suggestions on the timeline to help the subcommittee create a more complete picture of NASSH's robust history. Using the comment box, which appears once text is highlighted, let the committee know what information is missing, if an interpretation is incorrect, etc.

If you have questions, please contact NASSH 50 co-chairs Carly Adams ( carly.adams@uleth.ca) and Lindsay Pieper ( pieper.l@lynchburg.edu).

President's Welcome

It is a pleasure to serve as president of the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH). The organization, which has been in existence since 1972, includes members who have a passion for the historical study of sport, physical activity, exercise, and other human movement forms. An open and welcoming and encouraging community, NASSH has always been marked by the fact that individuals in the organization come from diverse educational backgrounds, some having completed their academic preparation in departments of history while others in such fields as kinesiology, American studies, communication, and sport management. Irrespective of their different educational backgrounds, however, individuals in the organization are all bound by their love for exploring the above-mentioned phenomenon from a historical perspective and disseminating the information gathered from those explorations to as large an audience as possible.

One of the highlights of NASSH is its annual conference. Held through the years at various locations in the United States and Canada, the conference provides an opportunity for individuals to share their latest research, serves as an opportunity for individuals with similar scholarly interests to share ideas, and furnishes an occasion to pay tribute to those who have served the organization and to recognize outstanding scholarship completed by members and others. The upcoming conference will be held in Chicago at the Double Tree by Hilton Chicago-Magnificent Mile hotel from May 22-25, the program being organized by NASSH president-elect Murray Phillips and a committee made up of Sarah Fields, Chad Seifried, Steve Townsend, and Tom Fabian. Importantly, just prior to this year’s annual conference will be a NASSH sponsored pre-conference symposium on “Reading the Past Critically.” Organized in honor of the University of Iowa’s well-known sport studies scholar Susan Birrell, some of the papers from the pre-conference symposium will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Sport History, NASSH’s refereed scholarly journal that is arguably the most important publishing outlet for articles dealing with sport history related topics.

Please know that you are all welcome in NASSH. I have no doubt that you would benefit enormously and find it fulfilling to be involved in the activities of an organization that emphasizes inclusion, supports its members, and encourages scholarship of the highest quality.

David K. Wiggins, NASSH President

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia, USA

2020 NASSH Graduate
Student Award

We are pleased to announce that Zach Bigalke’s essay “Two Flashpoints in Time: BYU Football as a Catalyst for the Bowl Championship Series Era,” has been selected for the 2020 NASSH Graduate Student Essay Prize. Zach, holder of B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of Oregon, is a Ph.D. student at Penn State University and an advisee of Dr. Jaime Schultz. Because of the cancellation of the 2020 conference, Zach’s essay will be presented at next year’s conference in Chicago. It is also our pleasure to announce that Sebastian Potgieter, a Ph.D. student at the University of Otago, and Katie Taylor, a Ph.D. student at De Montfort University, were the two other finalists for this year’s award. Sebastian, an advisee of Drs. Doug Booth and Mark Falcous, submitted for the competition the essay “Representing 1981: Narrating the Springbok Rugby Tour of New Zealand.” Katie, an advisee of Drs. Martin Polley and Heather Dichter, submitted for the competition the essay “‘The First Woman Football Coach...': A Media Study of Female American Football Coaches, 1908-1960.” Both essays, like Zach’s, were very nicely written, thoughtful, and full of cogent analyses and interpretations. Congratulations to Zach, Sebastian, Katie, and the other graduate students who submitted essays for the competition. All told, the overall quality of this year’s submissions makes clear the future of sport history is in good hands.

David K. Wiggins, NASSH President

2020 NASSH Book Awards

Each year NASSH considers submissions for its book awards. It is a delight to be able to honor and celebrate outstanding research in our field, and to acknowledge the range of scholarly activity that gives sport history its vivacity and reach. We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 Awards.The Book Awards Committee considered a large number of submissions. From that extremely strong field have selected two outstanding books that both are a considerable contribution to the field and have a considerable reach into cognate fields.


Barbara Keys’ outstanding collection The Ideals of Global Sport: From Peace to Human Rights assembles leading analysts in the field to explore key issues in the claims for sports’ global moral significance, focusing on the reasons for the strength of those claims rather than their veracity  per se. As such it is a major contribution to sport history as well as to politics, philosophy, and sociology among others, highlighting the interdisciplinary power of historically informed and engaged scholarship. This a collection that should influence and shape our discussions of sports’ reputed social and moral effects, and reframe sports scholarship and practice. It is a major text in and beyond the field that we are honored to celebrate.  https://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15956.html


Kathleen Bachynski’s exceptional No Game for Boys to Play: The History of Youth Football and the Origins of a Public Health Crisis was the standout book in an exceptionally strong field. Bachynski blends health and sport history to engage with and frame a vital contemporary public health issue, and to challenge our understandings of football, of brain injury, and of masculinities. The book is a major contribution to sport history as well as histories of public health, health policy, gender, and images of nationhood. Along with its US focus, the argument resonates powerfully with debates in other national settings and deserves a wide readership. It is a major text in and beyond the field that we are honored to celebrate.  https://uncpress.org/book/9781469653709/no-game-for-boys-to-play/Congratulations to Prof Keys and Dr Bychanski. We will celebrate these successes at the NASSH 2021 convention.

Malcolm MacLean, Convenor, NASSH Book Prize Committee 2020
on behalf of Adam Criblez and Cat Ariail, with Rita Liberti and Jason Shurley (Anthologies) and Steve Reiss and Maureen Smith (Monographs)

Congratulations to Derrick E. White whose Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Jake Gaither, Florida A&M, and the History of Black College Football published by @UNC_Press has been short-listed for the #NASSH2020 Monograph Book Prize @blackstar1906 @uncpressblog https://www.nassh.org/awards/announcements/

Congratulations to Jason P. Shurley, Jan and Terry Todd whose Strength Coaching in America: A History of the Innovation That Transformed Sports published by @UTexasPress has been short-listed for the #NASSH2020 Monograph Book Prize @DocShurley @JanTodd1 https://www.nassh.org/awards/announcements/

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NASSH President

David Wiggins

George Mason University


Business Inquiries

Thomas Hunt

The University of Texas at Austin


Organizational Inquiries

Jaime Schutz

The Pennsylvania State University


Graduate Student Inquiries

Tanya Jones

The University of Texas at Austin


Website Inquiries

Andrew Linden

California State University, Northridge