SCC instructor intertwines love of history and sports
For SCC history instructor Scott Stempson, sports isn’t just his passion, it’s a way of life. He grew up playing many sports, and now he teaches it and other history classes at Southeast Community College and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in sports,” he said. “I grew up in a family that enjoyed playing and watching sports. My dad was a really good athlete and still participates in golf and jogging at the age of 80!”
In addition to teaching about the history of sports, Stempson wrote a textbook on the subject titled “American Sports History” about 10 years ago. It focuses on baseball, football and basketball and the teams that have shaped American sports culture.
“I was actually approached by a publishing company to write a textbook, and they asked me when I could have it ready and I told them for that fall term,” he recalled. “Three years later I finally had a finished product. I greatly underestimated how difficult and time-consuming it would be. It has made me a better teacher, though, because I know so much more about the subject.”
Stempson grew up in Lincoln and attended Lincoln East High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNL in 1991 and one in political science from the University of North Dakota in 1992. He received his master’s degree in history from UNL in 2000 and finally his Ph.D. in history in 2006. He started teaching the History of Sports at UNL in 2009 and has taught it in the past at SCC.
“The course is extremely popular at UNL, and it is always full in the fall when I teach it live (125 students) and in the spring and summer when I teach it online,” he said. “It usually has a waiting list. I think it’s a bit of a shock when the students realize they are going to have to learn about actual American history in this course.”
Stempson has taught at SCC for eight years. He’s currently teaching both halves of “Early and Late” American History. The biggest difference between teaching at the two colleges, he said, is the size of the classes. At SCC, he’s able to have smaller classes and more one-on-one time with the students.
“I do like the smaller classes because I feel like I can give each student more attention,” he said. “That is pretty difficult to do with the giant enrollment courses we sometimes have at UNL.”
Though he enjoys research and writing, Stempson said teaching students is still his favorite part of the job.
“It’s really teaching that I love to do. Interaction with students never gets old, and it’s something I look forward to every semester.”
Stempson’s wife Abby is an attorney in Lincoln and they have three children: JD, Henry and Veronica. They spend their free time shuttling back and forth between sporting events.