SHSU professor honored, named to Texas Institute of Letters

Ty Cashion, associate professor of history at Sam Houston State University and author of “Sam Houston State University/An Institutional Memory: 1879-2004,” has been elected to membership in the Texas Institute of Letters.

Cashion will be inducted during the group’s annual meeting April 14 in Dallas.

The organization was founded in 1936 by J. Frank Dobie, Walter Webb, and others including journalists, scholars and poets, and promotes and recognizes distinctive literary achievement in Texas.

Each year the Institute awards more than $25,000 in literary prizes for fiction, poetry, non-fiction, newspaper and magazine writing, design, translation, humor and children’s and young adult literature.

The Institute’s Web site lists more than 300 members, including Larry McMurtry, Horton Foote, Bill Moyers, Dan Jenkins, Leon Hale, Molly Ivins and Liz Carpenter. Paul Ruffin, distinguished professor of English at SHSU, is also a member.

Cashion and other new members will read selections from one of their works. He has chosen “Pigskin Pulpit: A Social History of Texas High School Football Coaches,” a book he wrote in 1998 after interviewing a number of coaches, including his father.

“I’d challenge anyone to interview even a few old-time coaches and not come away with a profound sense of appreciation for who they were,” said Cashion.

“Of course, most scholars are convinced these men were Fred Flintstone with a gimme hat and whistle who were concerned only with winning. How far from the truth they are!”

In addition to “Pigskin Pulpit” and the SHSU history written for the 125th anniversary of the university’s founding, Cashion has a number of other books, journal articles and publications, as well as book reviews and conference presentations.

These include “What’s the Matter with Texas? The Great Enigma of the Lone Star State in the American West” published in Montana: The Magazine of Western History; “Three R’s and the Hickory Stick on the Texas Frontier,” published in the East Texas Historical Journal, “Rewriting the Wild West for a New History” in the Journal of the West, and others.

He is currently working on a monograph entitled “Will the New Western History Ride Again? & Other Tales of Texas and Regional Identity.”

Cashion earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Austin College in 1979, his master’s in history from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1989, and his Ph. D. in history from Texas Christian University in 1993.

After earning his doctorate he taught at Texas A&M Commerce before joining the SHSU history faculty in 1999.

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