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Joanne  “Coach P”  McCallie

Joanne “Coach P” McCallie

Hall-of-Fame NCAA Basketball Coach, Best-Selling Author & Expert on Teamwork and Leadership


Joanne “Coach P” McCallie, former NCAA Division I women’s basketball head coach for 28 years,  has taken on her greatest role yet. She is forging a path to de-stigmatizing mental health and coaching those afflicted to paths for a full and productive life. She knows what worked for her as an elite coach under national scrutiny while protecting her secret—a mental health diagnosis hidden across 26 years of her career so as not to impede her success or impact her family’s livelihood. Finally, the world is changing. Read More >

Drawing upon three decades of building people on and off the court, Coach P has now taken flight in a new arena. She is partnering with individuals, corporations and groups from all walks of life to help them find their inner warrior and be the best they can be.

It’s a natural fit for this champion, one of the most highly decorated female college basketball coaches in the country. She has led teams at Maine, Michigan State and Duke, making National Coach of the Year and winning numerous championships at all three schools. She is the only coach in history to win Coach of the Year in four different conferences, and then achieved that five times. And she is the only Division I head coach to lead two different programs to 30-win seasons with three National Championship game appearances.

She also is a winner in life. Coach P was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age 30 while coaching at Maine. It was something she wanted to reveal for decades but was counseled that it would be career suicide and distracting to her teams. Despite her struggles and dark times—including a bout with skin cancer—she successfully raised a family and continued to triumph in basketball. In 2021, she decided it was time to talk and became a mental health advocate and speaker, sharing her story to inspire and educate others on how to "win without losing yourself." The result was her best-selling book, Secret Warrior: A Coach and Fighter, On and Off the Court, and numerous speaking engagements where she shares her story.

Coach P is also the author of Choice, Not Chance: Rules for Building a Fierce Competitor. It is drawn upon her own personal experiences, triumphs and professional challenges to create her passionate life philosophy of “choice, not chance.” It is her powerful mantra that serves as the foundation for the award-winning athletes and competitive teams she builds and leads—an approach to life that can be applied to sports teams, business teams, student-athletes and even parenting.

An advocate for mental health, she is also a wife and mom of two, Maddie and Jack. She has extensive media experience on radio shows and podcasts and has provided color commentary for four years for the WNBA.

Through Coach P’s high-energy speeches and leadership seminars, she engages, educates and inspires companies and organizations, schools and universities, with discussions on mental health, sports, faith and leadership. She specifically crafts each talk to be in alignment with the culture and dynamics of each audience. It has been cited that likely 50% of the American population suffers from some form of a mental health issue. Expand that percentage when including the impact of those surrounding each of us. Coping and thriving is not unlike sports—it requires a game plan, a playbook, drills and muscle memory. There are ways to foul out—and there are ways to better our own stats and performances while thriving personally. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Secret Warrior Book Trailer

Live Fearless

On Differences in Treatment of Men and Women College Athletes

Interview with Coach Joanne P. McCallie

Speech Topics

Techniques: The “I" Test

For Joanne “Coach P” McCallie, building a winning team or leading someone to success is not about focusing on the outcome. Instead, it’s a process that not only applies to business and sports but also mental health. Coach P calls her technique The “I” Test. This leadership/success program is what she used throughout her years of coaching and continues to utilize today. It ties passion and response to Emotional IQ with inspiration. In this motivational and highly informational talk, Coach P explains The “I” Test system and how it can be used for individual development, team cohesion and growth, including embracing adversity, uncertainty and vulnerability, as well as how to not only survive but also thrive.

Choice Not Chance: Building a Fierce Competitor

When Joanne “Coach P” McCallie was leading the women’s basketball team at the University of Maine, she created a program she called “Choice Not Chance.” It was based on her philosophy that you are a product of your choices, both big and small. And if you make the right choice, you can make a difference in your life. Using this idea, along with her staff and players, Coach P took the Maine program from nothing and built it into a very competitive team in a span of eight years.  In fact, she started to outdraw the men's team, a rarity in college sports. Maine went from drawing 800 fans a game to 5,800, a sellout crowd. It worked so well, Coach P wrote a book about it: Choice Not Chance: Building a Fierce Competitor. Drawing on Coach P’s experiences at Maine and Duke and throughout her career, as well as her memoir, Choice Not Chance gives you the tools to become a fierce competitor, such as going against the grain, never becoming satisfied and why it’s critical to enjoy getting better daily.

Mentorship Matters

Can mentors make a difference in your life at work, on the playing field or at home? Absolutely, says Joanne “Coach P” McCallie. The legendary Hall-of-Fame NCAA Basketball Coach has had mentors for nearly all of her life, starting in sixth grade when she joined an intramural basketball team. “I remember a coach saying to me, ‘You could be really good,’ and that statement was so inspiring,” she told BP Magazine. And that was just the start. Throughout her career, she has learned the value of mentors, from the encouragement of her mom to older coaches, college athletic directors and a sports psychologist—all of whom not only inspired but held her accountable. In this talk, Coach P shares the stories of mentors in her life, from Auburn to Maine to Michigan State to Duke, and the value they brought. She’ll also shares the lessons and philosophies learned from “Coach K” Mike Krzyzewski, Tara VanDerveer, Tom Izzo, Nick Saban and Joe Ciampi and how they helped form Coach P’s own approach.

Stories Over Stigmas From The Secret Warrior

Joanne “Coach P” McCallie understands first-hand the toll mental illness can take on someone because she has experienced it herself. At 30 years old,  while coaching women’s basketball at the University of Maine, she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It’s something she’s been dealing with ever since. And yet, she believes deep in her soul that a diagnosis does not define your destiny. And she has proven it. Coach P is one of the most highly decorated female college basketball coaches in the country. In this moving talk based on her best-selling book, The Secret Warrior, Coach P shares her mental health journey through the realities and challenges within the sports world. Using the recurring theme of "stories over stigmas" to reduce misconceptions associated with impaired mental health and encourage those suffering from mental health issues to reach out to coaches, student-athletes and people across the world, Coach P offers real direction, experiences and personal stories to teach and reassure those adversely affected by the dynamics of the mind and body experience. She also shares how to embrace anxiety and coaching philosophies that relate to brain health success. Motivational and heartfelt, this talk drives home the need for more education, stories, action and an overall change to the narrative about brain health.

Overcoming Adversity

Joanne “Coach P” McCallie has a message for anyone going through tough times: You are tougher and stronger than you think. In this highly motivational talk, Coach P shares her own journey of overcoming adversity and how she not only rose above it but also became stronger, smarter and healthier using her Point Guard Mentality: the pivot, perseverance personified, practice and people. From maintaining wellness to having a team in your corner to self-discipline and self-care, Coach P provides the tools you need for growth, success and conquering any challenge. It’s time for you to “be good to you.”