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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


When it comes to coaching, teamwork and the leadership needed to excel, no one does it better than Joanne “Coach P” McCallie, former NCAA Division I women’s basketball head coach for 28 years. She is one of the country's most highly decorated female college basketball coaches. Coach P has led teams at Maine, Michigan State and Duke, making National Coach of the Year and winning numerous championships at all three schools. Not only did she coach her team to the national title game in 2005, but Coach P also led her team to beat Stanford, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, UConn and Tennessee — all in the same season. Read More >

Coach P is also the only coach in history to win Coach of the Year in four different conferences, and then achieved that five times! She is the only Division I head coach to lead two different programs to 30-win seasons with three National Championship game appearances.

The author of Choice, Not Chance: Rules for Building a Fierce Competitor, Coach P draws upon her own personal experiences, triumphs and professional challenges to create her passionate life philosophy of “choice, not chance.” This powerful mantra served as the foundation for the award-winning athletes and competitive teams Coach P built and led—an approach to life that can be applied to all teams. Drawing upon three decades of building teams on and off the court, Coach P 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.

Coach P is also forging a path to de-stigmatizing mental health and coaching those afflicted to lead full and productive lives. Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age 30 while coaching at Maine, Coach P wanted to share her struggles and reveal her diagnosis 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 on the court.

In 2021, Coach P knew that she had to help rid the stigma around mental health and decided it was time to share her mental health journey and inspire and educate others on how to "Win Without Losing Yourself." The result was her bestselling book, Secret Warrior: A Coach and Fighter, On and Off the Court. It has been cited that likely 50% of the American population struggles with mental health issues. 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 stats and performances while thriving personally, Coach P says.

Building a winning team or leading an individual or an organization to success is not about focusing on the outcome. It’s about concentrating on individual development, team cohesion and growth that embraces adversity, uncertainty and vulnerability. Through Coach P’s high-energy speeches and leadership seminars, she engages, educates and inspires companies and organizations, schools and universities, with discussions on teamwork and leadership, mental health, sports and faith. She specifically crafts each presentation to be in alignment with the mission, culture and dynamics of each audience and event. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Secret Warrior Book Trailer

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 applies to business, sports and 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. She started to outdraw the men's team, a rarity in college sports. Coach P taught her teams to play with passion and fight hard for recognition, and her teams have achieved remarkable success. Her philosophy 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 and teach your teams to be the best they can be at work and life.

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 her mom's encouragement 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. And why every business owner or leader needs a mentor, too, no matter how successful they are. She’ll also share 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 approach.

Overcoming Adversity

Joanne “Coach P” McCallie has a message for anyone going through hard times: You are tougher and stronger than you think. In this highly motivational talk, Coach P shares her 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.”

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 country's most highly decorated female college basketball coaches. In this moving talk based on her bestselling 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.