It’s all Greek for Dr. Dave Lunt, Assistant Professor of History at Southern Utah University. A specialist in ancient athletics, Dave intensely studies the effects of sports in society, specifically Greece. He loves studying this 2,000-year-old topic because of the ways that sports reveal cause-and-effect in ancient (and modern) societies, as well as the human factors that drive historic events.
Dr. Dave Lunt became interested in the history of athletics in graduate school. At the time he was coaching high school football and enjoyed watching and playing sports. When it came time to write his thesis one of his mentors advised him to write about what he loved. Lunt decided to write his thesis on sports and politics in ancient Greece.
Ever since that day, he has been researching sports history. “I told myself I’d keep studying sports until I get tired of it,” he said. “It’s been over 18 years since that day and I’m still not tired of it.”
Lunt earned his Ph.D. in History at Penn State University and his Master of Ancient History from the University of Utah. He also studied at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in 2006. He was hired as a history professor at SUU in 2010 and has been here ever since.
Lunt teaches the following classes:
- HONR 1040 Foundations of Honors
- HIST 1100 Western Civilization 1
- HIST 1500 World History to 1500 C.E.
- HIST 1700 American Civilization
- HIST 3200 Sports in American History
- HIST 4410 Classical Greece
- HIST 4415 Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World
- SOSC 4900 Teaching Social Science Subjects
His research focuses on how ancient and modern athletics reflect and interact with society, religion, culture, social issues, politics and myth. He also enjoys researching ancient Greek and Roman history. Lunt speaks Latin and ancient Greek and taught language courses at SUU.
“My favorite era of history is the ancient world. Ancient Greece, to be precise,” said Lunt. “It is a fascinating time and place that has had an enormous influence on our world. Things like the university, democracy, freedom of speech, philosophy, and – of course, history – all of these things can be traced back to the ancient Greek world.”
As an Ancient Greece specialist, Lunt was recently highlighted with the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, where he shared A Brief History of the Olympic Winter Games and his wealth of Greek knowledge.
“My main research area is ancient Greek athletics. If you think that modern people love sports, the ancient Greeks were crazy about athletic competitions. There were the Olympic Games and other festivals, to be sure, but most Greek boys grew up practicing sports in the local gymnasium. This topic – the role of athletics in ancient Greek society – is my favorite thing to study. I find that I have far more questions than time to do the research.”
Lunt has traveled with a study-abroad program to Greece to give lectures, teach and visit various archaeological sites. Besides traveling, he enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports and participating in physical activity. Lunt is determined to continue doing what he loves and hopes to instill a passion for sports and history in all his students.