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Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Book Description

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In Against the Grain, Bill Courtney shares his convictions on the fundamental tenets of character, commitment, service, leadership, civility, and others that, in his decades of success as an entrepreneur and educator, have proven to be the keys to a winning and meaningful life and career. Each chapter tells the story of one of these tenets through compelling anecdotes of the colorful characters in Bill's life, leading to a deeper understand of the meaning of each and how to employee these fundamentals in all aspects of one's life. Against the Grain intertwines inspiring and thought-provoking anecdotes, lessons, and amazing real life examples. Bill's passion for us all to reconsider our own approach to life and constantly improve upon it comes across on every page.

Editorial Review

by Michael Beas

Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love is a compelling and heartfelt memoir penned by Bill Courtney, a renowned coach whose wisdom transcends the boundaries of sports and delves into the realms of character, faith, family, and love. In this inspiring book, Courtney shares his life experiences, revealing profound insights on personal growth, resilience, and the power of mentorship.

From the very first page, it is evident that Courtney's writing style is genuine and captivating. His narrative is infused with authenticity, drawing readers into his world of coaching and the transformative impact it has had on his life and the lives of his players. He seamlessly weaves together anecdotes and life lessons, making the book both enlightening and emotionally charged.

One of the book's standout features is Courtney's emphasis on character development. He stresses the importance of integrity, self-discipline, and perseverance, traits that extend far beyond the sports arena. Through his own journey as a coach, he imparts valuable insights on how character-building can shape individuals and their communities, reminding readers that true success is not solely measured by wins and losses but by the content of one's character.

Moreover, Courtney's reflections on faith and spirituality add a profound layer to the narrative. He shares personal stories that highlight the role of faith in navigating life's challenges and finding purpose. These moments of introspection offer readers a glimpse into the author's own struggles and triumphs, providing a source of inspiration for those who may be facing their own obstacles.

While the book primarily revolves around coaching, Courtney masterfully expands its scope to encompass the importance of family and love. He intertwines tales of his own family life, underscoring the significance of strong familial bonds and the impact they have on personal growth. These anecdotes add depth to his narrative, making the book relatable to a broader audience beyond sports enthusiasts.

However, one minor drawback of Against the Grain is its occasional lack of specificity in terms of coaching strategies or concrete examples. Although the book abounds with powerful life lessons, some readers seeking more practical advice on coaching techniques may find themselves wanting for more explicit guidance.

Overall, Against the Grain is an inspiring and thought-provoking memoir that offers readers a window into the transformative power of coaching, character development, faith, family, and love. Bill Courtney's writing style is engaging, and his authenticity shines through on every page. This book is highly recommended for individuals seeking to navigate life's challenges with resilience, build strong relationships, and embrace a holistic approach to personal growth.

About the Author

Get Your Book Autographed at FreedomFest 2023

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William B Courtney (Bill), a native Memphian, founded Classic American Hardwoods, Inc. in 2001. Today, this 2001 startup company has grown to employ 120 people with a 45 acre manufacturing facility and domestic sales offices in Memphis, TN and international sales offices in Shanghai, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 2007, Classic American Hardwoods, Inc. won the Memphis Business Journal's Small Business of the Year Award based on its growth and commitment to community service.

In 2003, Bill followed CAH employee and college friend Jim Tipton to volunteer at Memphis' inner city Manassas High School in an effort to turn its underperforming football team around. In 2003, the team consisted of 19 players and the team's overall previous 10 year's record was a dismal 4-95. In the 2008 and 2009 seasons, the team's record improved to 18-2, it boasted 75 players, and helped to bring hope to countless underprivileged, inner city youth. The story was so compelling that a Hollywood film--Undefeated--was produced about it that won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary.

In 2011, Bill was inducted into Bridge Builders for leadership in diversity, community, and justice. He was the 2012 recipient of the Liberty Bowl's Harry Zinn Spirit of 1776 award for distinguished citizenship, recipient of the Carnival Memphis' King's award for outstanding achievement in Business and Industry, and the National Football Foundation and College Hall of fame Memphis chapter's award winner for The distinguished American for Contribution to Amateur Athletics. In 2013, he was inducted into the prestigious Society of Entrepreneurs as a result of his success in business and community service.

Today, Bill still operates as the President and CEO of Classic American Hardwoods overseeing its day to day operations, enjoys public speaking at a variety of venues from the Para Olympics in Colorado Springs to Nike, PepsiCo, FedEx, and other nationally recognized companies to churches, schools, and hospitals, and is writing a book, Against the Grain to be released in 2014. Courtney lives with his wife and four children in Memphis, Tennessee. Follow him on Twitter at @IamCoachBill and @CoachBillSays

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