skip to Main Content

Donnie Campbell

The Inspiration for the Show Ted Lasso

Topic Categories:

Fee Range: 5000-9999
  • Former Head Coach at SM West H.S.

*Fee ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice. For an exact quote, please contact your Speaker Exchange Agency representative.

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 teach 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.

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.


  • Know how to establish your own MVP. When you have a mission, values and a plan, you can be clear on your purpose, focus and make better decisions. This will help you succeed both personally and professionally.
  • Leadership comes in all forms. When you realize what each person brings to the team, you can find ways to motivate each of them individually, while also having them realize the importance of working together to reach their goals.
  • Recognize the importance of supporting future leaders as they learn the ropes and form their own set of values. It’s easy enough to tell them to have self-confidence and know their “why,” but you also have to appreciate that it takes years of experience for someone to accomplish this.
  • Having a sense of inner humility can positively affect how you lead. It’s not found in big words, but rather it is found in character, how you look at life and how you treat others.
  • Developing people first through building character and trust will result in long-term success beyond short-term wins.
  • Purposeful and challenging practice builds communication, resilience, and improvement through managed failure.
  • Accountability starts from the top: admit mistakes, learn from them, and improve together to move forward.
  • A culture of respect, hard work, and teamwork unleashes potential where people value and support one another.
Please contact us to see testimonials.
Related Speakers

Want to bring Donnie Campbell to your next event?  Please tell us a little about your event, and we will get back to you shortly!

  • *Required
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Back To Top