Award-winning leadership speaker, seven-time New York Times Best-Selling Author, long-time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated and business leader. Don Yaeger has fashioned a career that spans more than two decades. As an author, his books have sold more than 2 million copies and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. As an accomplished speaker, he delivers nearly 100 presentations a year to audiences as diverse as Fortune 25 companies and Cancer Survivor Groups, where he shares the story of his personal battle with cancer.
He is principally sought-out to discuss lessons on achieving greatness, learned from first-hand experiences with some of the greatest sports legends in the world. Throughout his writing career, Don has developed a reputation as one of America's most provocative journalists and has been invited as a guest to every major talk show from Oprah to Nightline, from CNN to Good Morning America. Additionally, Don has been engaged as a Media Trainer to countless high-profile athletes, business leaders and elected officials.
Few journalists can lay claim to as exciting and colorful a career as Don Yaeger 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.
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.
- What Makes the Great Ones Great - Using rich, personal accounts gathered from more than 25 years of interviews, Don has distilled Sixteen Consistent Characteristics of Greatness that you will find consistently in the super-achievers. He will share with the audience these characteristics - in how they think, how they prepare, how they work and how they live - that truly make the great ones great. Then he'll explain how every audience member can apply these characteristics to their personal and professional lives.
Don is highly sought after to deliver his most popular keynote presentation on the Sixteen Consistent Characteristics of Greatness he has encountered while working with the greatest champions of the last 25 years. He has shared those stories with Fortune 500 companies, National and State Associations and organizations just like yours. In an hour-long keynote Don will talk about four of these characteristics based on your goals and objectives for your meeting. Occasionally, an organization will take advantage of Don being onsite and engage him for an additional presentation of a breakout session as well. Other organizations want to continue the momentum Don brings to their meeting/conference by hiring him to give monthly or quarterly calls to their team. Whatever your needs are Don can tailor his efforts to meet them.
- 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.
- Institutional Reputation Management - Don Yaeger, a seven-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.
- Crisis Management - As 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.
- 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?