Winona State University History Professor Matthew Lindaman recently published the book Fit For America: Major John L. Griffith and the Quest for Athletics and Fitness, with Syracuse University Press.

Fit for America is at once an intellectual biography of Major John L. Griffith, one of the preeminent intercollegiate athletics administrators of the twentieth century, and an in-depth look at how athletics shaped national military preparedness in a time of war and anticommunist sentiment.

Drawing on voluminous primary source material and the many writings Griffith left behind, Fit for America tells the story of a figure who was instrumental in shaping the world of American intercollegiate sports. Lindaman traces Griffith’s forty-year career, from his appointment as the first Big Ten commissioner to his service as NCAA president in the 1930s to his role as secretary-treasurer during World War II. The book also explores Griffith’s work to advance collegiate sports on a regional and national level as well as his role in the development of a coaching and athletic administration network.

In addition to being authored by a WSU faculty member, Fit for America boasts another university connection by way of its cover art. The 1932 painting “Football Players” by Max Weber was donated to the university in 2016 by WSU alumnus, and son of Max Weber, Maynard “Mo” Weber ’50. (Read more about this donation in “For the Love of WSU” on the WSU Alumni blog.)

For more information on Fit for America, visit the Syracuse University Press website.

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Jake Leskovar

Jake is an Advertising Major and a Creative Digital Media Minor, with a passion for writing from Madison, Wisconsin.

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