Don Yaeger

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Don Yaeger is a nationally acclaimed inspirational speaker, longtime Associate Editor of Sports Illustrated,  author of over 30 books, eleven of which have become New York Times Best-sellers, and host of the Corporate Competitor Podcast. He began his career at the San Antonio Light in Texas, and also worked at the Dallas Morning News and the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville before going to work for Sports Illustrated.


As an author, Don has written books with, among others, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden, baseball legends John Smoltz and Tug McGraw, and football stars Warrick Dunn and Michael Oher (featured in the movie The Blind Side). He teamed with Fox News anchor Brian Kilmeade to pen the 2013 best-seller George Washington’s Secret Six, a look at the citizen spy ring that helped win the Revolutionary War and then again in 2015 for Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War that Changed American History, and in 2017 for Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans:  The Battle that Shaped America’s Destiny.


Don left SI in 2008 to pursue a public speaking career that has allowed him to share stories learned from the greatest winners of our generation with audiences as diverse as Fortune 10 companies to cancer survivor groups, where he shares his personal story. More than a quarter-million people have heard his talks on “What Makes the Great Ones Great.” He collaborated with the Florida State University School of Business’s Continuing Education Program to build a corporate webinar program focusing on lessons on building a culture of success within an organization. This naturally led to another keynote speech on “What Makes the Great Teams Great.”  The release of his tenth New York Times best-seller, Teammate, was the inspiration for his newest keynote on “Becoming a Team of Great Teammates.”


Speaking Topics:

  • What Makes the Great Ones Great
  • What Makes the Great Teams Great
  • Becoming a Team of Great Teammates
  • The Power of Storytelling: Becoming an Effective Communicator

Don Yaeger's Experiences

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  • What is your favorite quote? Make each day your masterpiece by John Wooden
  • Are there any moments that stand out as having a significant impact on your career? Having Walter Payton trust me with writing his book.
  • Outside of your profession do you have any hobbies/interests? Love playing basketball
  • Who do you look up to as a mentor and why? John Wooden - there wasn't anything you couldn't learn from him. I spent a day every other month with him for the last 12 years of his life, trying to gain as much knowledge from him as I pos