Meet Don Yaeger

Meet Don Yaeger

Award winning leadership speaker, long-time Sports Illustrated associate editor, 9-time New York Times Best-Selling Author.

About Don Yaeger

Few can lay claim to as exciting and colorful a career as Don Yaeger.

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

  • Don with Tim McGraw

    Don with Tim McGraw

  • Don with Zig Ziglar

    Don with Zig Ziglar

  • Don with Snoop Dogg

    Don with Snoop Dogg

  • Don with Shaquille O'Neal

    Don with Shaquille O'Neal

  • Don with Matt Lauer

    Don with Matt Lauer

  • Don with Michael Irvin

    Don with Michael Irvin

  • Don with Michael Johnson

    Don with Michael Johnson

  • Don Going One On One With Michael Jordan!

    Don Going One On One With Michael Jordan!

  • Don, And His Wife Jeanette, With Michael Jordan

    Don, And His Wife Jeanette, With Michael Jordan

  • Don with Sam Bradford

    Don with Sam Bradford

  • Don with Donald Trump

    Don with Donald Trump

  • Don with Dale Brown

    Don with Dale Brown

  • Don with Michael Jordan

    Don with Michael Jordan

  • Don with Annika Sörenstam

    Don with Annika Sörenstam

  • Don with Matt Lauer

    Don with Matt Lauer

  • Don with Larry King

    Don with Larry King

  • Don with Michael Irvin

    Don with Michael Irvin

  • Don receiving the Key to the city of Las Vegas

    Don receiving the Key to the city of Las Vegas

  • Don with Michael Johnson

    Don with Michael Johnson

  • Don with Rex Ryan

    Don with Rex Ryan

  • Don with John McCain

    Don with John McCain

  • Don with Faith Hill

    Don with Faith Hill

  • Don with John Wooden

    Don with John Wooden

  • Don with Jerome Bettis

    Don with Jerome Bettis

  • Don with Anthony Davis

    Don with Anthony Davis

  • Don With Jerry Rice

    Don With Jerry Rice

  • Don with Shaquille O'Neal

    Don with Shaquille O'Neal

  • Don With Carl Lewis

    Don With Carl Lewis

  • Don with Condoleezza Rice

    Don with Condoleezza Rice

  • Don with Oprah Winfrey

    Don with Oprah Winfrey

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 9 New York Times Best-sellers.


Over the last two decades Don has traveled the world in pursuit of stories as diverse as:

Pssst… Wanna Buy Some Clubs? – Golfers spend millions a year on counterfeits and knockoffs. To find out how this burgeoning industry works, we went right to the source: southern China.

One of a Kind – After courageously battling medical troubles more severe than the public knew, the incomparable Walter Payton lost his fight for life at age 45.

Son of Sadam – As Iraq’s top Olympic official, Uday Hussein is accused of the torture and murder of athletes who fail to win.

It’s Not About the Truth – The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Scandal and the Lives it Shattered.

Under the Gun – Battling the clock, wretched facilities and random violence, Iraq’s new Olympic committee races to build a team for Athens. Don traveled Europe and the Middle East interviewing Iraqi athletes tortured by Saddam Hussein’s son Uday, chairman of the Iraqi Olympic Committee.

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.

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.

Traveling with candidates from both parties during Presidential campaign.


  • Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
  • Greatness
  • Never Die Easy
  • Ya Gotta Believe!
  • Devoted
  • Play Like You Mean It
  • It’s Not About The Truth
  • George Washington’s Secret Six
  • A Game Plan for Life
  • I Beat the Odds
  • Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain
  • Under the Tarnished Dome

Don also wrote A Game Plan For Life, with legendary coach John Wooden. It was published on Coach’s 99th birthday in October 2009.

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. He and his wife Jeanette have a son and a daughter.

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Some of the Winning Teams Don Yaeger works with


DELL
Chevron
Microsoft
Hewlett Packard
BROCADE