I specialize in the history of sports and Christianity in the modern United States, and I have also researched and written on subjects related to race, religion, and the Midwest in American history. Along with my academic publications, my writing has appeared at Christianity Today, Religion & Politics, Slate, Religion News Service, and more. I have been interviewed or quoted by publications including The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, New York Times, The Ringer, Associated Press, NPR's "Only A Game" radio program, and more (see my home page for additional links).
Books and Book Chapters
My revised dissertation, titled The Spirit of the Game: Christian Athletes, Big-Time Sports, and Transformation of American Protestantism, is under contract with Oxford University Press. I also have chapters in two edited collections that are under contract with Oxford University Press: "Touchdown Jesus: The Midwest and the Integration of Religion and Sport," (in Oxford History of the Midwest) and "Fundamentalism and Sport" (in The Oxford Handbook of Christian Fundamentalism).
In 2022, I published an essay titled “‘There is Talk of Black Power’: Christian Athletes and the Revolt of the Black Athlete,” in Religion and Sport in North America: Critical Essays for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Jeffrey Scholes and Randall Balmer (New York: Routledge, 2022), 13-34.
- “Tracing the Historical Contours of Black Muscular Christianity and American Sport,” The International Journal of the History of Sport, 39.4 (2022): 404-424. [PDF available upon request]
- “Commercializing the Sacred Office: Sexual Revolution and the Scandal of the Modern Marrying Parson, 1895-1930,” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 17.1 (January 2018): 56-76. [PDF available upon request]
- “For Race and Region: A Brief History of the Western Negro Press Association, 1896-1920,” Great Plains Quarterly 38.2 (Spring 2018): 175-198. [PDF available upon request]
- “Building a City on a Hill: Mobilizing Evangelical Protestant Men for Moral Reform under the Des Moines Plan, 1907-1916.” The Annals of Iowa 77.1 (Winter 2018): 1-40. [this article can be accessed online]
- “Big-League Basketball Comes to Omaha: A History of the Omahawks.” Nebraska History 97.4 (Winter 2016): 185-198. [PDF available upon request]
- "From the Pulpit to the Press: Frank Crane's Omaha, 1892-1896." Nebraska History 96.3 (Fall 2015): 136-153. [this article can be accessed online]
- Co-author with Jordan R. Bass and Mark Vermillion, “‘Going Viral’: The Impact of Forced Crowdsourcing on Coaching Evaluation Procedures.” International Sport Coaching Journal 1.2 (2014): 103-108.
- “A Church for the People and a Priest for the Common Man: Charles W. Savidge, Omaha’s Eccentric Reformer.” Nebraska History 94.2 (Summer 2013): 54-73. [this article can be accessed online]
- “Jesse ‘Cab’ Renick: In Search of an Indian Identity.” Chronicles of Oklahoma 89.1 (Spring 2011): 72-97.
In my current role with Truett Seminary's Faith & Sports Institute, I serve as editor and contributor to the Faith & Sports Blog.
During my graduate school days I sporadically kept up Sportianity, a blog exploring the historical and contemporary connections between sports and Christianity in the United States. Among the most popular blog posts at the site:
- Football, Prayer, and the South: The "Praying Colonels" of Centre College
- The Women Who Were Christian Athletes Before Title IX
- Felipe Alou and Latino Christian Athletes
- How Billy Graham Made Peace With Sunday Sports
- The Fundamentalist Frank Merriwell
I used to have a personal blog at peputz.blogspot.com, where I wrote about basketball, music, history, culture, and whatever else caught my fancy. Below is a sampling of my most popular blog posts, arranged by category.
- The NBA Comes to Omaha
- The Fifteen Best NBA Teams Of All Time...If Those Teams Were Organized By Players' College Degrees
- The Most Interesting College Degrees in the NBA
- Indian Identity and Jesse "Cab" Renick, Captain of the 1948 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team in London
- Looking Backward: Reliving the 1990 NBA Draft
- The Rise of the National Basketball Association
- Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age
- The National Basketball League: A History, 1935-1949
I have also written at a couple of academic group blogs, including Sport in American History (you can find my posts by clicking here) and Religion in American History (You can find my posts by clicking here). Below is a sampling of some of my RiAH posts.
Book Preview Lists:
- 2017 American Religious History Year in Preview (May-August)
- 2017 American Religious History Year in Preview (January-April)
- 2016 American Religious History Year in Preview (September-December)
- 2016 American Religious History Year in Preview (May-August)
- 2016 American Religious History Year in Preview (January-April)
- 2015 American Religious History Year in Preview (September-December)
- 2015 American Religious History Year in Preview (May-August)
- 2015 American Religious History Year in Preview (January-April)
- 2014 American Religious History Year in Preview (July-December)
- 2014 American Religious History Year in Preview (January-June)
- Of Gods and Games: Religious Faith and Modern Sports
- Saving Faith: Making Religious Pluralism an American Value at the Dawn of the Secular Age
- Outsiders in a Promised Land: Religious Activists in Pacific Northwest History
- Boys among Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution
- Playing for God: Evangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry
- Under the Big Top: Big Tent Revivalism and American Culture, 1885-1925
- The Cross of War: Christian Nationalism and U.S. Expansion in the Spanish-American War
- Transcendental Meditation in the Midwest
- The Urban Pulpit: New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism
- Building the Old Time Religion: Women Evangelists in the Progressive Era
- The Radical Middle Path: Jesus According to Ingersoll, Herron, and Debs