Bestselling Author • Award-Winning Speaker, Commentator, Teacher, and Coach

John U. Bacon has worked more than two decades as a writer, speaker, radio commentator, college lecturer, and hockey coach, winning awards for all five.


The Best of Bacon: Select Cuts

University of Michigan Press, May 15, 2018

The Best of Bacon presents both new and familiar stories by best-selling author John U. Bacon, all centered on sports in his home state of Michigan. Best known for his acclaimed books on college football, Bacon’s writing has been praised for going beyond traditional Xs and Os sports reporting. True to that reputation, this collection showcases personal, behind-the-scenes stories of players, coaches, and even fans. Many of these stories are connected to specific moments in time—a great season, the passing of a legendary broadcaster, or a star player’s daily grind before a big game—and will immediately transport readers to some of the highs (and lows) of their own sports memories. More often, Bacon’s writing explores timeless themes—why we love sports, how we pass that passion down to the next generation, and how it will be threatened or preserved in the future.


John U. Bacon is the author of eight books on sports and business, four are national best sellers and three of those have debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Bacon has delivered speeches around the world on leadership, creativity and diversity, among other subjects. In 2011, the MMPI named him “Speaker of the Year.” Book Bacon today for an event or speech.

Bacon provides weekly sports commentary for Michigan Radio and occassionally NPR, which awarded him the PRNDI prize for nation's best commentary in 2014. Subscribe to his blog today so you can get this fresh slice of Bacon each week.


James Fahner, MD, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital – Speaking Event

“I wanted to send you a note of most sincere and enthusiastic gratitude for everything you did for us during your visit.  To say I have heard a chorus of rave reviews ever since Wednesday night would be a gross understatement.  From “your best lectureship ever” to “he hit it out of the park,” “touchdown” and “total home run,”  I have been showered with positive calls, e mails and getting stopped by staff in the halls to tell me they were inspired, touched and re-energized by your remarks.  We all felt very special and very privileged to be there…Again, from my heart, thank you!”

Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes – Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership

“Absolutely wonderful. I hear my old friend in these pages, and his advice is just as direct as he was. Read it – and pay attention!”

George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist – Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football

“John U. Bacon’s report on the weird world of college football is eye-opening, and occasionally jaw-dropping.”

David Shuster, Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist – Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football

“One of the most riveting nonfiction works I’ve read in years, in any genre. The eyewitness details from the locker room, the sidelines, and the most powerful offices on a college campus are breathtaking….John U. Bacon is one of the best reporters of my generation.”

John Saunders, Emmy-nominated studio host of ESPN and ABC College Football

“John U. Bacon went deep inside the world of college football, penetrating the locker room doors to meet some players you won’t forget and, most amazingly, learn the secrets coaches protect more fiercely than the CIA. By getting so close to the heart of the sport, Bacon reminds us what we love about our greatest game.”

Christine Brennan, USA Today – Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football

“No one knows the Big Ten better than John U. Bacon, so it’s no surprise he picked the perfect football season to chronicle in his groundbreaking book, Fourth and Long. Bacon has written a riveting portrait of a watershed season in the most venerable college conference in the nation. The Big Ten is at the vortex of so many issues in college sports, and Bacon expertly covers them all.”

Joe Schad, ESPN College Football Insider – Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football

“No person is more qualified to tell the story of the milestones and missteps in Michigan’s football programs than John Bacon, who has the sources, relationships and storytelling mastery to pull back the curtain at an institution where the curtain is thick. ENDZONE provides a fascinating view into a powerful and successful program that, for a while, lost its way.”

Adam Schefter, ESPN NFL Insider – Endzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football

“Jim Harbaugh always has been one of the most intriguing figures in all of football, the NFL or college. ENDZONE brings them together, helping to understand what motivated Harbaugh to leave the successful San Francisco 49ers for the struggling Michigan Wolverines, and why Michigan fans have received him as their savior.”

Frank Tecumseh, Vice President, Human Resources, FireKeepers Casino Hotel – Speaking Event

“John, thanks again for presenting at our program. Your presentation was excellent and it definitely was a hit with our team. I’ve heard nothing but positive comments!”

Dr. Valerie Opipari, Chair, University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Department of Pediatrics – Speaking Event

“I have received dozens of messages about the CHRC conference being a huge success and in particular your presentation. It really hit home with great lessons and memorable stories…I can’t thank you enough for making the conference so special.”

Robert E. Heisler, AAMS, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones – Speaking Event

“Thanks again for being a part of our annual Branch Team Conference for Region 14. I wanted to provide you a few comments from one of our associates: ‘John U. Bacon was superb! I can’t fully express in words how much his speech resonated with me. I wish I could have him talk to my kids and their coaches and teachers. More people need to hear his stories.’”

Glenn Johnson, Founder and CEO, Insight Global – Speaking Event

“Undoubtedly John Bacon was the best speaker we’ve ever had.”


Cynthia Silveri of the University of Michigan Executive MBA Reunion – Speaking Event

“I wanted to let you know your evaluation score was a 4.9 out of 5.0 —the highest of all the events! And with all of the compliments I got from alumni – including the written comments, too — I couldn’t have been more pleased. You are a wonderful speaker, and it was a pleasure to work with you.”

Andy Dolich, President, Memphis Grizzles – Speaking Event

“Looking at your evaluations, I have to ask: Did you pay these people off when I wasn’t looking? They’re the best I’ve ever seen.”


Your weekly slice of Bacon.

Michigan in the Peach Bowl: Bad News, or Good News?

INTRO: On Sunday, all the bowls sent out their invitations to some 78 college football teams. Michigan received a bid…

For Michigan: Bad loss, great season

On Saturday, the Michigan Wolverines suffered a historic loss to arch-rival Ohio State, 62-39, causing despair among many Michigan fans.…

Halifax Explosion in paperback, Bacon in Traverse City Nov. 29

Hello, Loyal Readers, And Happy Thanksgiving! One of my favorite holidays, since everyone can play, it lands on the same…

The Insanity of Rewarding Coaches Who Fail

In the past three decades, college coaching salaries have skyrocketed. But what really concerns me is the colleges' habit of…


Bacon delivers speeches to corporations, universities and other groups drawing on the themes and stories from his books. Interested in having him speak at your event?

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