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Donnie Campbell

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Coach Donnie Campbell has been referred to as the inspiration for the character, “Ted Lasso”.

Fee Range: $10,000 and Below
Phone: 800-328-6008

If the word “believe” resonates with you, it means that you are probably a diehard fan of the hit series Ted Lasso, which portrays a football coach from Kansas who is hired to be the head coach of the English Premier Soccer Leagues AFC Richmond. But did you know that there was a real inspiration behind this award-winning show?

Coach Donnie Campbell is a math teacher and a high school basketball coach from Kansas who was plucked out of obscurity when Jason Sudeikis, the American actor and star of the 5-time Emmy Award winning show, revealed to Stephen Colbert on the late show that Campbell was in part the impetus for the lead character he plays with such wit and wisdom. It was back in the late 1990’s when Jason played basketball at Shawnee Mission West and Donnie was his coach. Little did Campbell know that all of the pearls of wisdom he was dropping on Jason and the team would appear years later and make an indelible impression on millions around the world.

Today, Campbell has been busy making appearances on local and national television including ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s The Today Show. In addition to teaching, he is now speaking to organizations and companies about leadership and specifically, how important it is to instill strong values in the people you work with. He credits his leadership skills to his always positive attitude and to his mentors that prepared him for success both in the classroom and as a coach.

Campbell graduated from Lyons high school in 1980 and attended Kansas State University on a football scholarship and played basketball his freshman year. For the past 36 years, he has coached and taught math, but more importantly he has been building the confidence and character of the young men and women who have played for him.

Speech Titles and Descriptions:

What’s Your MVP? Leadership Lessons from the Coach who Inspired Ted Lasso

Coach Donnie Campbell is not just an inspirational coach, but also in part, the impetus for the wise and ever so cheerful lead character of the Emmy Award Winning show, Ted Lasso. His colorful keynote provides valuable leadership lessons that can be seen on the court, but more importantly applied in the workplace.

At a time when embracing your uniqueness is a rare quality, he shows how to define your core values while forming your mission, values and plan.

This one-of-a-kind keynote is a real treat for the audience as it combines heartfelt storytelling with specific lessons in leadership that are just as successful on the basketball court as they are when applied in the real world. Donnie weaves together his personal stories of inspiration with tactical take-aways that are more than applicable and welcomed in today's challenging environment.

Donnie’s presentation hits on the following leadership principles and more:

Believe: In a world that seems to be defeating each person in some way, that there is a reason that people are attracted to kindness and good.

MVP: You are your own most "valuable" player - but it's important to know your MVP - (mission/values/plan) as it builds the foundation for everything else.

Motivation and Mentoring: if you are open to it, mentors can provide some of the most meaningful lessons, ones that you will carry with you for years (Donnie shares the invaluable advice he learned from others, how he still carries the knowledge with him today and uses it to motivate his players)

Leadership: You continue to learn when you have a leader and then you learn even more when you become one

Confidence: A simple premise in theory, but it really has many layers - Donnie shares how to build it in yourself and others

Know Your Why: When you are a great leader and you are clear on your “why” - the rest will take care of itself and you will get results beyond what you ever imagined.

Success: Many ways to define success - but it all boils down to how you define it and what matters to you.

Note: Throughout his presentation, there are several quick references to the Ted Lasso show and how Donnie feels about being the inspiration for the show.


Donnie was FANTASTIC! What a genuine, authentic person. We all really enjoyed meeting him. I could spend all day with him actually ? In addition, Donnie did a great job on stage. We received all positive feedback from the attendees. It was truly MY the highlight of the event.

Kelly McLeod, Manager, Network Infrastructure Marketing, Panduit

Donnie Campbell was one of the most inspirational keynote speakers I’ve seen in 30+ years of event planning.  Although his background and success was on the basketball court, he is a classic servant leader in every respect. On stage, he effortlessly commanded the room of 540 business leaders as he redefined the concept of LEADER and TEAM for all of us!

In today’s competitive landscape, his message of “creating a culture of winning, starts with creating good people,” resonated deeply with our audience. Every leader aspires to get the very best out of their people, but Donnie clearly has a passion for developing people and celebrating success. He provided insight on how to gain trust and accountability. He openly shared his failures.  But, he will long be remembered for his positive energy and authentic leadership style. Off stage, he was kind and gracious and was the consummate professional to work with. Sincere gratitude to Donnie for making our annual event a tremendous success!

Tim Sater, Vice President, Marketing, AAIM Employers’ Association

Donnie’s presentation was fantastic! He spoke for our company sales leadership at a time when the team is going through a lot of change. Our focus as a result has been to support the leaders and invest in their development. Donnie’s message was the perfect fit. He brought to life the importance of coaching, development and excellence in a form of real-life examples, amazing stories and powerful quotes. Great investment into your leadership team!

Tatyana Zlotsky, President & CRO, A Place for Mom

Donnie is such a nice man! I loved his presentation as it resonated with so many people. He did a great job picking up on issues that the aging services field is dealing with and incorporating it into his presentation.

Andrea Bellofiore, Director of Member Services and Programs at LeadingAge Connecticut

Donnie was excellent! The group really loved hearing him speak, and he did a great job leaning on his notoriety while also charting a clear and separate message about leadership. Also, him coming to J. Rieger that night was just the best, people LOVED getting to be able to talk to him, take pictures, etc.

Michael Hopkins, Chief Experience Officer (CXO), Vincue

We were thrilled with Coach Campbell’s presentation at our recent meeting! Coach Campbell’s message on teamwork and leadership left our group feeling inspired! He connected with the audience of teenage boys and their parents and kept them fully engaged. Coach is a great storyteller whose authenticity makes the presentation more like a conversation. Our members thoroughly enjoyed having him at our meeting and we know that he will be a tough act for anyone to follow.

Margie Brown, Co-President, Boys Team Charity, Leawood League

I have to tell you when we first met I did what I’m sure everyone does and try to see the essence of Jason’s character in you. I certainly saw the resemblance but it was only after we spent time together that I understood what he most likely saw. You have a way of connecting that makes people feel like their best self. I’m certain you impacted his life in a more profound way and I felt honored to make your acquaintance in a similar way.

Thanks for inspiring our team at our event and thank you for connecting with me personally.

Phillip Gerard, VP Sales, Panduit

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