Sports Scandals Make Headlines, But Positive Role Models Make a Difference: Book Profiles 34 Athletes Who Inspire Greatness

Sports Scandals Make Headlines, But Positive Role Models Make a Difference: Book Profiles 34 Athletes Who Inspire Greatness

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Billie Jean King, Walter Payton, John Wooden and Lindsey Vonn are just a few of the 34 inspirational athletes who made the cut in Sports Role Models: Book 2 from bestselling author Dr. Joe Hoedel.

“As Americans, we tend to pay attention to the scandals in sports,” Hoedel said. “However, there are positive role models in sports who can and do inspire us to greatness in our own lives.”

Each chapter in Sports Role Models: Book 2 is a short, engaging story about an athlete or coach who exemplifies positive traits such as character, leadership and sportsmanship — qualities that contributed to their success both on and off the playing field.

Hoedel tells the stories behind the stories, including:

• Pete Frates, the man behind the 2014 ALS Facebook Ice Bucket Challenge;

• Babe Didrikson Zaharias, voted the best female athlete of the 20th Century;

• Kathrine Switzer, disguised herself as a man to become the first female to run the Boston Marathon;

• Kurt Warner, who worked the night shift at a grocery store in Iowa before returning to football to win a Super Bowl and the league MVP;

• And much, much more.

Readers will recognize many of the heroes Hoedel profiles, including Barry Sanders, Billie Jean King, Jim Valvano and Ted Williams. Other chapters feature lesser known yet equally remarkable examples of the power of the human spirit, like the father-son duo of Dick and Rick Hoyt, who completed 276 triathlons; or Herb Brooks, who coached the 1980 Olympic team to an improbable gold medal.

Sports Role Models: Book 2 includes a mix of historical and contemporary sports figures; a healthy balance of men and women; and a diverse blend of race, ethnicity, backgrounds and perspectives. Sports Role Models: Book 2 is the second of three in a series, and cumulatively, the books cover 26 distinct sports and many of the greatest sports moments of the last 100 years.

“There is something in these books for everyone,” Hoedel added. “People want and need to be inspired. We should be able to look up to positive role models who inspire us to greatness.”

About the Author

Joe Hoedel earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. For 20 years he has served as the CEO of Character Development and Leadership, an education-based curriculum company. He has created two educational programs that are used in more than 3,500 middle and high schools across the country. He is the author of three books that highlight 102 athletes and coaches who exemplify positive character traits. Hoedel has spoken at hundreds of conferences in the past two decades. He is also a high school coach in Traverse City. He is married and has four amazing daughters.

For more information, please visit, or follow the author on Facebook (, X (@CDandLeadership) and Instagram (characterandleadership).

Amazon link:

Sports Role Models: Book 2

Publisher: Character Development and Leadership

ISBN: 978-1-7336526-2-9

Available from and