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John has designed and taught four courses at Miami University (Ohio), Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and the University of Michigan, where he was awarded the 2009 Golden Apple Award for teaching. These include:

"The History of College Athletics,” at the University of Michigan
John created this course on the uniquely American phenomenon of college athletics for U-M’s American Culture and History departments.

We’ve become so accustomed to watching nationally televised football and basketball games played before packed stadiums on college campuses we rarely stop to wonder how this institution ever came into being.  No other nation, not even Canada, takes college sports seriously.  Why do we?

The student evaluations gave both the course and professor a score of 4.98 out of 5.00, the University’s highest.  The course has the longest wait list on campus.

“The Rise and Fall of American Sportswriting,” University of Michigan and Miami University (Ohio).

Sports do not exist in a vacuum.  In America, arguably more than in any other society, sports have reflected our values and our times, and quite often, have actually served as the catalyst for sweeping changes.  As a result, the messengers of this medium – in this case, the sportswriters and broadcasters – have taken on a vital role.  “The Rise and Fall of the American Sportswriter” will examine five phases to explain the vital role sportswriters played in the crucial early years of American sport, and how that role has grown and changed, right up to the present day.
This course has the second-longest wait list on Michigan’s campus, behind Bacon’s first course.

“The Art and Craft of Sportswriting,” Miami University (Ohio)
Bacon designed this course for honors journalism students to teach them how to report and write game stories, profiles, features, and columns.

University of Michigan Students Lining Up For Bacon
by Jennifer Zobel
/Michigan Daily/U. Michigan
Jan. 9, 2008

(UWIRE) ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Before this semester began, students scoured through their course guides to choose from the more than 1,000 classes offered at the University.

As always, many students with later registration dates found waitlists rather than open seats in the classes they wanted to take.

Though sitting eleventh on a waitlist probably wouldn’t faze most students, what about being eighty-ninth?

According to the Registrar’s Office, the History of College Athletics, offered by the American Culture department, has the longest waitlist this semester, once boasting a total of 89 students.

That means 89 of the 150 students in the class would need to drop the class to allow everyone on the waitlist to join.

It begs the question: what’s so special about the class?

According to the course description, students in the class will take a close look at why college athletics are "a quintessential part of American culture," and why America is the only country to take collegiate sports so seriously.

It also explores how the idea of college athletics developed and women and African-Americans’ influence on the multi-billion dollar industry.

But beyond the subject matter, many students might be enticed by the popularity of the professor. The class, first offered at the University in the fall of 2006, is taught by campus favorite Prof. John Bacon.

Bacon also teaches a course called The Rise and Fall of the American Sportswriter. That class has a lengthy waitlist of its own, with a total of 51 students.

Bacon has also made a strong name for himself in the literary world. Along with contributing pieces to TIME, Sports Illustrated, and various publications, Bacon has authored five books.

Bacon’s latest book, Bo’s Lasting Lessons, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He wrote the book with legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler before he passed away in 2006



 

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