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About Don Yaeger
Don Yaeger is an award-winning keynote speaker, 11-time New York Times best-selling author, executive coach, and team culture expert.
For the last 30+ years, including his time as Associate Editor of Sports Illustrated magazine, Don has had a front row seat to study the greatest champions of all time.
Don teaches the lessons he's learned from these great champions and team builders to organizations all over the world with live and virtual professional development programs.
To learn more about these programs, and how Don can motivate your team to perform like champions, please visit Don's website at donyaeger.com
Don Yaeger lives in Tallahassee, FL with his wife Jeanette and their two children Will and Maddie.
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In 2016 the Cubs snapped a 108-year curse, winning the World Series in a history-making, seven-game series against the Cleveland Indians. Of the many storylines to Chicago's fairytale season, one stood out: the late-career renaissance of David Ross, the 39-year-old catcher who had played back-up for 13 of his 15 pro seasons.
Beyond Ross's remarkably strong play, he became the ultimate positive force in the Cubs locker room, mentoring and motivating his fellow players, some of them nearly twenty years his junior. Thanks to Cubs Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, "Grandpa Rossy" became a social media sensation. No one, however, could have predicted that Ross's home run in his final career at bat would help seal the Cubs championship.
Now, in Teammate, Ross shares the inspiring story of his life in baseball, framed by the events of that unforgettable November night.
His legacy is towering. Walter Payton—the man they called Sweetness, for the way he ran—remains the most prolific running back in the history of the National Football League, the star of the Chicago Bears' only Super Bowl Championship, eleven times voted the most popular sports figure in Chicago's history. Off the field, he was a devoted father whose charitable foundation benefited tens of thousands of children each year, and who—faced with terminal liver disease—refused to use his celebrity to gain a preferential position for organ donation. Walter Payton was not just a football hero; he was America's hero.
Never Die Easy is Walter Payton's autobiography, told from the heart. Growing up poor in Mississippi, he took up football to get girls' attention, and went on to become a Black College All-American at tiny Jackson State (during which time he was also a finalist in a Soul Train dance contest). Drafted by the Bears in 1975, he predicted that he would last only five years but went on to play thirteen extraordinary seasons, a career earning him regular acknowledgment as one of the greatest players in the history of professional football. And when his playing days were over, he approached business and charity endeavors with the same determination and success he had brought to the football field, always putting first his devotion to friends and family. His ultimate battle with illness truly proved him the champion he always had been and prompted a staggering outpouring of love and support from hundreds of thousands of friends and admirers.
Written with veteran journalist and author Don Yaeger in the last weeks of Walter Payton's life, Never Die Easy presents Walter's singular voice—warm, plainspoken, funny, self-aware—along with the voices of the friends, family, teammates, and business associates who knew him best at all stages of his life, including his wife, Connie, and their children, Brittney and Jarrett; his teammate and friend Matt Suhey; former Bears head coach Mike Ditka; and many, many others.
Walter made Don Yaeger promise that his book would be "inspirational and leave people with some kind of lesson . . . and make sure you spell all the words right." Never Die Easy keeps all those promises.
Warrick Dunn was only eighteen when his mother, a Baton Rouge police officer, was shot and killed. Yet somehow he managed to enroll at Florida State University and help his team to a national championship during his freshman year—while also caring for his five brothers and sisters. Despite his modest size, Dunn went on to a storied NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons, becoming one of only twenty-three running backs in NFL history to exceed the 10,000-yard career rushing mark. Off the field, he created the Warrick Dunn Foundation and its Homes for the Holidays program, helping single parents achieve first-time home ownership. But in his drive to help others, the one person Dunn neglected was himself, as the pain of his mother's loss led to a spiraling depression that went untreated for years.
Running for My Life details Dunn's struggle to confront his past and face the grief that consumed him for far too long. Thought-provoking and uplifting, it is the story of an exceptional athlete's secret torment and inspiring courage.
Opening with an in-depth discussion of the nature of greatness - what it is, what it is not, and why it is worth pursuing - each subsequent chapter of the book consists of a detailed story illustrating one aspect of greatness with examples from the sport's greats that Don Yaeger has interviewed over the past 30 years. Included are practical tips and plans for assisting the reader in implementing new habits, routines, practices, and philosophies of greatness into his or her daily life. It is the strong belief of those whom Don Yaeger has interviewed over the years that greatness is available to all of us. Not in the same way or in the same field, but we all have the capacity to achieve greatness if they'll give dedication to the characteristics defined in this book.
Rex Ryan is known for his exuberance . . . and Play Like You Mean It explores every aspect of Ryan’s amazing passion for the game of football, plus the lessons he has learned in leadership and motivation during his years in and around the game. In his own words, Ryan takes readers behind the scenes of the NFL as he shares colorful football stories from his experiences with the Jets and the Ravens as well as his years recruiting players, coaching college football, and growing up as a child of legendary NFL coach Buddy Ryan. Rex’s unique brand of enthusiasm and motivation comes through on every page.
Most of all, fans will get insider access to Ryan’s headline-grabbing, brutally honest, and undeniably entertaining views on the NFL . . . and the very human side of the larger-than-life athletes who devote their lives to the game of football. From Ryan’s acceptance of the Jets head coaching job to his success in turning around a team that has long been number two in New York, from his drafting and believing in Mark Sanchez to kicking off the 2010 season with massive expectations (and a target on his back)—this book goes deep, and entertains on every level.
"In order that there will be no misunderstanding
regarding the eligibility of a candidate,
the recipient of the award must be a bona fide
student of an accredited university.
The recipient must be in compliance with the
bylaws defining an NCAA student."
-- From the ballot for the Heisman Trophy
December 10, 2005: Amid a roaring ovation and media crush, with his family standing proudly by his side, Reginald Alfred Bush is named the year's Heisman Trophy winner. With his honest demeanor, effervescent smile and, of course, stunning talent displayed on the fields of the University of Southern California, Reggie Bush is, on that celebratory night, the portrait of a great American sportsman, and the pinnacle of everything the NCAA espouses in its athletes.
What America didn't know about the acclaimed college star was that, in direct violation of NCAA policies, Bush and his family had allegedly taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts long before he ever laid his hands on the Heisman.
The rumors first surfaced one week before the 2006 NFL draft: allegations of improper benefits that transformed Bush's final year at USC into a financial windfall. The resulting scandal from such charges could mark one of the darkest chapters in college football history. Now, drawn together for the first time in Tarnished Heisman, the facts are laid bare.
Don Yaeger, a former Sports Illustrated investigative reporter who documented the Duke University lacrosse case in the shattering New York Times bestseller It's Not About the Truth, reveals the heated controversy behind Bush's high-flying rise before turning pro for the New Orleans Saints, going back to his first taste of fame, when Bush landed in the pages of Sports Illustrated and all eyes were watching to see what was next for the USC sophomore. What few eyes saw, however, were the ties between Bush and two San Diego men, cofounders of a fledgling sports agency, who claim to have paid Bush and his family in cash and gifts to ensure his endorsement -- benefits including a vintage car, lavish trips, and an upscale home where Bush's family lived rent-free. Don Yaeger exposes the NCAA-prohibited activity in which Bush allegedly engaged, and also shows how USC and its coaching staff appeared to have turned a blind eye to the increasingly luxurious lifestyle of their star athlete and his family.
With the explosive information revealed in Tarnished Heisman, Bush stands to be ruled ineligible -- a decision that could cost his alma mater the 2004 national championship title, force the forfeit of every game Bush played in after losing his eligibility, and potentially strip Reggie Bush of the shining prize of his college career: the Heisman Trophy.