Don Yaeger

Empowering Teams And Individuals To Pursue Greatness

Meet Don

As an award-winning keynote speaker, business leadership coach, nine-time New York Times Bestselling author and longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated, Don Yaeger is one of America’s most provocative thought leaders. In his dynamic and inspiring programs, Don reveals lessons learned from his first-hand experiences working with some of the greatest sports legends in the world to help EMPOWER your team to pursue GREATNESS both professionally and personally.

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Don’s Programs

What Makes the Great Ones Great

Habits of High-Performing Individuals

Learn more

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 have vital personal and professional applications. In this live keynote and webinar series, Don tells the inspirational stories behind each characteristic, and how you can apply them to your own personal pursuit of Greatness.

What Makes the Great Teams Great

Lessons Learned From Great Teams

Learn more

Over the last 5+ years Don has studied the greatest team builders of all time, learning about exactly what it is they do to keep their teams consistently successful. Don has formulated 16 lessons learned from these championship team builders. In this live keynote and webinar series, Don Yaeger reveals these lessons to you and your team that will help to improve and define your team’s culture.

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

Testimonials

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“Your Characteristics of Greatness presentation was overwhelmingly rated as the best motivational speech the employees had ever heard.”
– Diversity Coordinator, Chevron

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Best motivational speech the employees had ever heard.

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“After having the opportunity to listen to Don’s message on leadership and Greatness, I immediately decided my team would find significant value by being exposed to Don and his philosophies on both business and personal growth and character.”
– President, AmerTitle

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“Don Yaeger was amazing. The stories that he had to make his points were so inspirational to me and gave me some great ideas on how to motivate my staff.”
– CUNA Mutual Group ​​​

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“I can honestly say that you scored “off the charts!” During your speech, I scanned the audience and couldn’t help but notice that whether young or old, man or woman, you completely captivated everyone in the room, including our attorney speaker panel.”
– Director of Marketing, Henderson Franklin

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“Don’s presentations are more than speeches – they are moments that motivate us to be better people, to learn ways to achieve more and find our real purpose in life.”
– President/CEO, Snider Fleet Solutions

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“I have no interest in sports, but this was not a sports speech. I have been watching and grading speeches for 30 years and this was one of the most poignant human interest and motivational speeches I have ever heard.”
– Past President, National Speakers Association

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“If you are looking for a dynamic, engaging speaker for your event, you should hire Don Yaeger, Speaker of Champions. He will truly be a highlight of your event.”
– Marketing Specialist, SoftPro

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If you are looking for a dynamic, engaging speaker for your event, you should hire Don Yaeger.

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“As a sales leader in a highly competitive selling environment, I particularly enjoyed your encouragement of my team to see themselves as winners from the moment they wake up each morning. I speak for all of us when I say that your presentation at this quarterly sales meeting was so well-received that we wish we could have you there at every meeting!”
– Regional Sales Manager – DELL

Testimonials

{

“Your Characteristics of Greatness presentation was overwhelmingly rated as the best motivational speech the employees had ever heard.”

– Diversity Coordinator, Chevron

{

“Don’s presentations are more than speeches – they are moments that motivate us to be better people, to learn ways to achieve more and find our real purpose in life.”

-President/CEO, Snider Fleet Solutions

{

“Don Yaeger was amazing. The stories that he had to make his points were so inspirational to me and gave me some great ideas on how to motivate my staff.”

– CUNA Mutual Group ​​​

{

“If you are looking for a dynamic, engaging speaker for your event, you should hire Don Yaeger, Speaker of Champions. He will truly be a highlight of your event.”

– Marketing Specialist, SoftPro

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Biography

As an award-winning keynote speaker, business leadership coach, a nine-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 nine 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.

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.

 

Speech Intro

INTRODUCTION

This will make for a smooth transition into the presentation. Also, please have them mention where Don will be available to sign books and answer questions after the speech.

The close of the presentation begins with the slide, “Today’s Characteristics of Greatness.”  At that point, the introducer should prepare themselves to take the microphone and, if possible, remind the audience where Don will be available after the speech.

CONCLUSION

Don’s speech has been built to last exactly one hour. Please let us know in advance if it is more important that Don finish his speech or end at a certain time, so he can be prepared in case of a delayed start time. Please respond with an answer to this question as soon as possible.

 

 

Awards and Honors

Certified Professional Speaker (CSP)
New York Times Best-selling author

A/V Preferences

  • Wireless Lavaliere Microphone
  • Projector and Screen suitable for PowerPoint
  • VGA connection to the projector for my laptop or a laptop provided with USB capabilities
  • Audio output from the laptop (Don has several videos in his presentation)