Don Yaeger

  • New York Times Best-Selling Author
  • Longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated
  • Leadership Speaker

As an award-winning keynote speaker, business leadership coach, a seven-time New York Times Best-selling author and longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated, Don Yaeger has fashioned a career as one of America’s most provocative thought leaders. As a speaker, he has worked with audiences as diverse as Fortune 500 companies and cancer survivor groups, where he shares his personal story.

He is primarily sought to discuss lessons on achieving greatness, learned from first-hand experiences with some of the greatest sports legends in the world. Additionally, Don has been retained by companies and organizations to coach their leaders, management teams and employees on building a culture of greatness by looking at Great Teams in sports and discerning the business lessons we can learn from them. Throughout his writing career, Don has developed a reputation as a world-class storyteller and has been invited as a guest to every major talk show – from Oprah to Nightline, from CNN to Good Morning America.

In the two decades since he accepted his first newspaper job in Texas, the breadth of his assignments has been astounding. He has traveled the world in pursuit of stories as diverse as:

  • Walking into Afghanistan with the Mujahadeen as they fought the Soviets Going into Baghdad with the victorious Iraqi soccer team as the battle between insurgents and the US Military waged around them 
  • Visiting China in pursuit of underworld characters counterfeiting American golf clubs 
  • Heading to Damascus to find the last living terrorist from the 1972 Olympics Living with football legend Walter Payton and his family as Payton was dying 
  • Roaming around Europe and the Middle East interviewing Iraqi athletes tortured by Saddam Hussein’s son Uday, chairman of the Iraqi Olympic Committee 
  • Traveling with candidates from both parties during Presidential campaign Chronicling the high-profile Duke Lacross scandal

Yaeger began his career as a reporter for the San Antonio Light where he rose through the ranks to pen investigative features for the daily. He later moved on to the Dallas Morning News. Following his stint in Dallas, Yaeger worked as a political editor for the Florida Times-Union.

After four years, he decided to dedicate himself to the pursuit of writing books. Yaeger’s first book, Undue Process: The NCAA’s Injustice For All, was published in 1990. In the 22 years since, he has penned 23 more books, including seven New York Times Best-sellers. His Best-sellers (and their debut date on the Times list) are: 

Under the Tarnished Dome: How Notre Dame Betrayed its Ideals for Football Glory October 3, 1993

Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton October 1, 2000

Ya Gotta Believe: My Roller-Coaster Life As a Screwball Pitcher, Part-Time Father and My Hope-Filled Fight Against Brain Cancer with Tug McGraw March 7, 2004

It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered July 7, 2007

I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to the Blind Side, and Beyond with Michael Oher February 27, 2011

Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laugh, and Leadership in the World's Most Beautiful Game with Rex Ryan May 22, 2011

Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur with Ryan Blair August 21, 2011 Don also wrote A Game Plan For Life, with legendary coach John Wooden. It was published on Coach’s 99th birthday in October 2009.

Movie rights to both the Duke book and Turning of The Tide, a book about a 1970 football game between the last all-white team at the University of Alabama and the fully-integrated team from the University of Southern California, have recently been sold.

After several years of freelancing for Sports Illustrated, Don joined the magazine’s staff full-time in July 1996. Two years later he was promoted to Associate Editor, where his work was to cover not just sporting events but the off-the-field happenings which affect the world of sports. He took an early retirement from full-time work at SI in 2008 and continues to freelance for the magazine.

Don Yaeger and his co-author William Nack were finalists for a 2000 National Magazine Award in the public interest category for their cover story “Who’s Coaching Your Kid?: The frightening truth about child molestation in youth sports.” This important piece triggered follow-up reports by programs such as Dateline, 20/20 and The Oprah Winfrey Show. It also resulted in changes to the law in several states and several youth sports organizations, including Little League of America, changed rules to require background checks of coaches and volunteers.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Yaeger has traveled extensively. The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Japan and Great Britain can be counted among the countries in which he has resided. A 1984 graduate of Ball State University, Yaeger currently lives in Tallahassee, FL. He also owns a political consulting business and a public relations firm. He and his wife Jeanette have a son and a daughter.

To book Don Yeager call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

See Below for Full Bio

  • Speaking Topics:

    Branding, Business Communications, Cancer, Leadership, Management, Motivation, Overcoming Adversity

  • Travels From:

    Florida

  • Price:

    $10,000 - $15,000

    Notes on Fees

  • Videos
  • Full Bio
  • Speech Topics
  • Books
  • Testimonials
  • News

Don Yaeger on John Wooden

Don Yaeger Speaking Demo

As an award-winning keynote speaker, business leadership coach, a seven-time New York Times Best-selling author and longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated, Don Yaeger has fashioned a career as one of America’s most provocative thought leaders. As a speaker, he has worked with audiences as diverse as Fortune 500 companies and cancer survivor groups, where he shares his personal story.

He is primarily sought to discuss lessons on achieving greatness, learned from first-hand experiences with some of the greatest sports legends in the world. Additionally, Don has been retained by companies and organizations to coach their leaders, management teams and employees on building a culture of greatness by looking at Great Teams in sports and discerning the business lessons we can learn from them. Throughout his writing career, Don has developed a reputation as a world-class storyteller and has been invited as a guest to every major talk show – from Oprah to Nightline, from CNN to Good Morning America.

In the two decades since he accepted his first newspaper job in Texas, the breadth of his assignments has been astounding. He has traveled the world in pursuit of stories as diverse as:

  • Walking into Afghanistan with the Mujahadeen as they fought the Soviets Going into Baghdad with the victorious Iraqi soccer team as the battle between insurgents and the US Military waged around them 
  • Visiting China in pursuit of underworld characters counterfeiting American golf clubs 
  • Heading to Damascus to find the last living terrorist from the 1972 Olympics Living with football legend Walter Payton and his family as Payton was dying 
  • Roaming around Europe and the Middle East interviewing Iraqi athletes tortured by Saddam Hussein’s son Uday, chairman of the Iraqi Olympic Committee 
  • Traveling with candidates from both parties during Presidential campaign Chronicling the high-profile Duke Lacross scandal

Yaeger began his career as a reporter for the San Antonio Light where he rose through the ranks to pen investigative features for the daily. He later moved on to the Dallas Morning News. Following his stint in Dallas, Yaeger worked as a political editor for the Florida Times-Union.

After four years, he decided to dedicate himself to the pursuit of writing books. Yaeger’s first book, Undue Process: The NCAA’s Injustice For All, was published in 1990. In the 22 years since, he has penned 23 more books, including seven New York Times Best-sellers. His Best-sellers (and their debut date on the Times list) are: 

Under the Tarnished Dome: How Notre Dame Betrayed its Ideals for Football Glory October 3, 1993

Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton October 1, 2000

Ya Gotta Believe: My Roller-Coaster Life As a Screwball Pitcher, Part-Time Father and My Hope-Filled Fight Against Brain Cancer with Tug McGraw March 7, 2004

It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered July 7, 2007

I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to the Blind Side, and Beyond with Michael Oher February 27, 2011

Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laugh, and Leadership in the World's Most Beautiful Game with Rex Ryan May 22, 2011

Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur with Ryan Blair August 21, 2011 Don also wrote A Game Plan For Life, with legendary coach John Wooden. It was published on Coach’s 99th birthday in October 2009.

Movie rights to both the Duke book and Turning of The Tide, a book about a 1970 football game between the last all-white team at the University of Alabama and the fully-integrated team from the University of Southern California, have recently been sold.

After several years of freelancing for Sports Illustrated, Don joined the magazine’s staff full-time in July 1996. Two years later he was promoted to Associate Editor, where his work was to cover not just sporting events but the off-the-field happenings which affect the world of sports. He took an early retirement from full-time work at SI in 2008 and continues to freelance for the magazine.

Don Yaeger and his co-author William Nack were finalists for a 2000 National Magazine Award in the public interest category for their cover story “Who’s Coaching Your Kid?: The frightening truth about child molestation in youth sports.” This important piece triggered follow-up reports by programs such as Dateline, 20/20 and The Oprah Winfrey Show. It also resulted in changes to the law in several states and several youth sports organizations, including Little League of America, changed rules to require background checks of coaches and volunteers.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Yaeger has traveled extensively. The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Japan and Great Britain can be counted among the countries in which he has resided. A 1984 graduate of Ball State University, Yaeger currently lives in Tallahassee, FL. He also owns a political consulting business and a public relations firm. He and his wife Jeanette have a son and a daughter.

To book Don Yeager call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

WHAT MAKES THE GREAT ONES GREAT
Habits of High Performing Individuals

As a result of more than 25+ years of researching and interviewing some of the greatest winners in sports, Don Yaeger has distilled 16 consistent characteristics of greatness that can inspire any one to pursue their own greatness.

In this live keynote presentation series, Don uses these characteristics to inspire your team to perform like champions in the workplace, and begin their own personal pursuit of greatness.

WHAT MAKES THE GREAT TEAMS GREAT
Lessons Learned From Great Teams

Completion of this program merits a certificate of business leadership awarded by Florida State University.

Over the last 25+ years Don has studied and learned from the greatest team builders of all time, learning about what they do to keep their teams consistently successful.

Don has collected 16 lessons from these championship teams, and will teach your team these proven lessons in this webinar series, and live keynote presentation aimed at growing a winning culture within your organization.

INSTITUTIONAL REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

Don Yaeger, a four-time New York Times best-selling author, major newspaper veteran and former Sports Illustrated associate editor, has covered some of America’s most challenging stories over the last two decades. This session will cover everything from tips on how to create a well of good will with today's media to developing a communications plan to guide you through any potential crisis.

BUILDING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

Everyone recognizes the value of a brand. In fact, BusinessWeek magazine once said that Coca-Cola’s brand alone is worth $67 BILLION. But you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to be a brand. Today, in the Age of the Individual, every one of us is a brand. And, just as executives at Coca-Cola must do, it is your responsibility to increase your brand value daily.

The first step is understanding and defining your brand - skills for which Don Yaeger has developed a national reputation. His company, 180 Communications, has been asked to work with some of the most famous athletes in the world of sports - including the #1 draft pick each of the last 3 years in the NFL drafts and 2008's #1 draft pick in the NBA – to define and nurture their brand.

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business you’re in, anyone can benefit from this training. Don will teach you how to define and then build your brand in order to maximize your professional potential.

THE DISCIPLINE OF WRITING

As a journalist and author, Don has spent years searching for the tricks to the trade of writing. In this session, he'll share those tricks with you.

WHEN THE MEDIA COMES CALLING

In today's age of instantaneous communication, companies and individuals alike need to be more knowledgeable than ever when it comes to media relations. If a member of the press contacts you, will you be ready for that call? How will you react when a question comes your way that you weren't expecting? And what if you actually want to tell your story? Is there a trick to getting a reporter to see your story as worth telling? Don Yaeger has developed a national reputation for answering these questions. His expertise has been sought out by countless high-profile athletes, business leaders and elected officials.

As a New York Times bestselling author and former associate editor of Sports Illustrated, Don has been on both sides of the microphone. He has conducted interviews around the globe and has been interviewed on countless national television and radio shows about his work. His 20-plus years of experience gives him the qualifications to teach you how to win the battle between a professional interrogator and an amateur respondent.

BUILDING TOMORROW'S LEADERS

Don discusses the early building blocks of success in this session aimed at younger audiences.CRISIS MANAGEMENTAs the author of the best-selling book on the Duke lacrosse scandal - a spectacular example of poor crisis management - Don has studied ways to prepare for and manage potential crises. This seminar is a shortened version of a one-semester course that he taught at a major university.

No Testimonials Found For this Speaker!

Lessons In Resiliency From The Heart Of A Champion
Monday, October 5, 2015

Simon Keith is, literally, a walking miracle.  In 1989, the former soccer standout for at UNLV, made history by becoming the first heart transplant recipient to play professional sports.  Keith was the number one pick in that year’s professional indoor soccer draft and, at the time, many celebrated him for the distinction of his role as a heart recipient playing his sport at such a high level.  Keith ignored the media hype because he didn’t want special treatment.  Worse, he didn’t want to be seen as a “less-than-before athlete,” he said.  Against the naysayers and his doctor’s wishes, Keith wanted to compete and be the best on the field…and he wasn’t going to let a life-altering experience sideline him.

Read More »

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