Praise & Recognition

I cannot thank each of you enough for your help. With this being my first "celebrity" experience, you all made it very easy and I truly appreciate all you did.
Rhinebeck Area Chamber of Commerce

WME could not have been more efficient, more understanding, nor better prepared. The event turned out to be spectacular and due in large measure to their professionalism and diligence. We could not have been more pleased!
Association for Financial Professionals
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Bill Courtney
Subject of the Academy Award-winning Documentary, UNDEFEATED
Author, Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love
"His sucess serves as a moving example of what can happen when people in authoritiy care about others - not just about winning the next game or securing the next client." - Phil Jackson

Bill Courtney is a familiar name to those who saw him in Undefeated, the Oscar-winning movie about the high school football team he coached in a downtrodden section of North Memphis. The documentary, which The New York Times called "an irresistible story," follows the indefatigable coach as he tirelessly works to turn around a troubled inner-city football team, meanwhile putting out fires at his day job: a highly successful lumber company. Now, in his first book, Courtney, Esquire magazine's Coach of the Year in 2012, describes the key principles—including service, civility, leadership, character, commitment, and forgiveness—that have helped young people and adults to live better and more fulfilled lives.

Courtney has also passed along these values to his 120 employees at the lumber company he built from scratch. A former drug addict became a line manager and loving family man; an out-of-control cornerback is now a cadet at West Point; a star running back has discovered he can show his emotions and still be strong. Courtney shares these and other compelling stories—with pithy statements such as "True compassion is when you reach out to another person when there is no benefit to yourself," and "How we treat those we disagree with says more about us than our opinions"—to illustrate how readers can enrich themselves, their families, their businesses, and their communities.
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Speaking Topics

Leadership: How to Go Against the Grain to Attain It

According to Courtney, football doesn't build character. It reveals character. When Bill Courtney began volunteering to coach a local losing football team, neither he nor the players knew how far they'd go, but their journey together became an inspiring lesson.The players soon realized that Courtney would not let them slide when it came to the fundamentals. Not just of football, but of the actions that count in the real world: commitment, dedication, integrity.The same traits that Courtney encouraged of his players have proven themselves in his business success as well. Having started a lumber business from his living room, Courtney turned it into a $40 million enterprise that currently does business all over the world. Even when the recession hit, Courtney's business thrived. "Walking the talk" of hard work, integrity and dedication, he believes that if you do the right thing, profits will follow.

According to Courtney, to do the right thing, you need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone, Deserve Success, Serve Others and Outwork Everyone Else. His discipline, combined with true caring, showed his team that true success isn't about trophies or awards on a shelf. It's about living life by a set of values one can be proud of long after their days on the field were over.

For Faith Based Groups

Bill Courtney volunteered as a football coach, but he became a father figure to the players as well. Most came from broken homes, and having grown up without a father himself, Courtney could relate to their situation.His personal faith had always sustained him, and as he grew and started his own family, it continued to be a cornerstone of the tools for living he successfully employs.


Trailer for Undefeated

Bill on the 700 Club


Accolades & Praise

USOC Paralympic Leadership Conference presented by Deloitte

-"Bill Courtney was FANTASTIC!” 

-"Bill Courtney was one of the best speakers I have ever seen…" 

-"This was a GREAT message!" 

-"Undefeated was amazing, and I'm still hearing Bill's message about getting out of your comfort zone even weeks after his speech.  He was awesome…"

Barrett School of Banking

This is an enthusiastic recommendation for Bill Courtney. Our audience is comprised of bankers and business leaders, and in years past we've hosted nationally renowned figures including: Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Fred Smith (Founder/Chairman/CEO of FedEx), Coach Tony Dungy, Dr. Stephen Covey, Dick Vitale and many more.  I am pleased to share that Bill Courtney rated on par (if not better) than all of them.

The words "real", "authentic", "sincere", and "compassionate" were the most prevalent descriptions of Bill's performance. The overall themes of their lectures were somewhat similar (teamwork/success/leadership), but what made Bill's story more believable and/or relatable was the dramatic difference in the group he represented.  He wasn't coaching All-Americans, Hall of Famers, or millionaires; he was giving his whole heart, body, and soul to a group of inner city kids who needed hope more than anything. 

The passion of his off the cuff responses during the Q&A was inspiring. As I asked the crowd to show their appreciation, you would have thought the theater seats were on fire!  It was definitely the most heartfelt standing ovation I can remember.  The audience felt he had given them his all. 

After the lecture, Bill joined us for a reception in which we had a receiving line (for pictures, autographs, etc.).  He was even more engaging then.  To think someone that is not as well known (at least not yet) as Hall of Fame coaches/broadcasters could garner such respect and admiration as to have people stand in an hour-long line for pictures on a hot afternoon, is truly incredible.  I have to say that the reception lines for our previous speakers were no greater than Bill's. 

Having Bill Courtney as our keynote speaker was a success in every way!

FedEx Leadership Live Conference

Bill Courtney presented today and it was absolutely, positively outstanding! We had a capacity crowd of over 450 and his message, as well as his presentation, was simply riveting. So very outstanding!

-"I've been employed by FedEx for over 25 years and this is the best speaker presentation I've ever heard"


-"He taught me to look at leadership in an entirely different light. Thank you for arranging for Bill to come."

- "His quote on 'the things you do for yourself go to the grave with you, but the things you do for others live forever' will stay with me for a long time.

-"Thank you for bringing this dynamic speaker."

-"Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!"

-"This was by far the best leadership presentation ever. Bill Courtney understands true servant leadership."-"Awesome!"

-"He rocked all around. One of the best speakers ever. I was incredibly impressed."

-"Such an inspirational speaker! Motivational, straightforward and entertaining."

-"A speaker who practices what he speaks. How refreshing. GREAT JOB!"

-"Bill was terrific. His life lessons were relevant to our everyday life and work."

-"Far exceeded expectations."

-"One of the best speakers on leadership I've heard. Thought provoking and genuine."

-"Would be hard to top Bill Courtney!"

-"Was very beneficial in recognizing the difference one person can make in improving the lives of others by getting out of their comfort zones."

-"One of the most genuine speakers I've heard in a long time! Hats off to whoever decided to engage him"


-"Easy to listen to and challenged everyone to think about how they're currently handling not just their job, but their family and community activities.

-"Taught me to look at leadership in a different light. I could sit through his presentation several more times. Thanks for bringing him to this event."

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Bill Courtney is real and relevant, with a transparent soul and the heart of a champion.  His ability to be in your face and you like it gives him a voice worthy of being heard.  His message connects and challenges everyone to serve and lead without pretense or pride.  Bill wowed the room and touched hearts."

St. Jude's Children's Hospital

He was personable, relatable, was quick to understand who the audience was, what they could benefit most from hearing about. He was excellent in tailoring his presentation to the mood and setting of the room. He delivered more than I had even hoped for. His story is inspirational, his style effective, and his results are excellent.  Thanks so much for suggesting him to me.

Alaska Broadcasters Association

-I wanted to thank you for your amazing presentation to the Alaska Broadcasters Association. To date I have never had so many of our members stop and thank me for having anyone at our event. One specific comment “Your keynote speaker is still having a residual effect on me. I’ve seen hundreds of terrific speakers but he left a lasting impression that really touched me.”

-Bill was EXTREMELY WELL received by all.  I, myself, wish we could have had him for a few days just to get to know him and ride on the waves of his enthusiasm and positive force.

Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce

The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce had a great time with Bill Courtney.   They said he was great and they were very happy.  Everyone thought a lot of him.  He was relaxed, spoke easily, and had a great message.  He got there early and mingled with people at the reception.  He talked for about 40 minutes and was very engaging.  He was funny – like when he talked about being at the Academy Awards.  He signed a bunch of books and said he wrapped up the evening with leadership.  She said they loved him!


He made this event memorable.  Because of him, people left inspired, looking forward to the year ahead.  Happy members = continued, engaged members + new members.  THANK YOU, BILL!

Club Managers Association of America

He was fantastic and he got a standing ovation at the end. Our members don't do that very often. So he was definitely a hit!

National Wood Flooring Association

Bill was fabulous and our members loved his message. He is a very easy person to work with and very personable. We enjoyed him and his message.



Notable Works

Buy Now
Against The Grain

Relevant Links


Related News

Bill Courtney, Coach of the Year

There is a moment in Undefeated that, like so many of the moments in the Oscar-nominated documentary, seems unbelievable. Scripted. Or storyboarded. Contrived in the way those bad MTV shows are.

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