Meet the Basketball Coach Who Inspired ‘Ted Lasso’
Jason Sudeikis’ Ted Lasso has brought us some much needed optimism and levity during a particularly cruel year. In the AppleTV+ show, Sudeikis’ fictional Midwestern Division 2 college football coach brings his sunny disposition all the way across the pond, where he is hired to helm a professional English soccer team. His bright-eyed aphorisms and positive demeanor initially clash with his new team, but eventually, he wins them over. As it turns out, Sudeikis drew heavy inspiration from his own high school basketball coach when creating the character.
Meet Donnie Campbell, the basketball coach at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas. In a recent segment on Good Morning America, Campbell speaks to his similarities with Ted Lasso, which includes his signature “Kansas kindness.” Watch the whole clip below:
“One thing as a coach, you use the sandwich principle,” says Campbell of his own coaching method. “Y’know? You say something positive, and then you do some constructive criticism, and then you end with something positive.” Spoken like a true Ted Lasso.
Then, Campbell listens to some quotes from Ted Lasso and reveals whether or not they were based off something he said. That moment where Ted compares taking on a challenge to riding a horse? It’s straight from Campbell — or more specifically, Campbell’s father. “I’m sure I probably got that one from my dad, but I did say that one,” he states. Sudeikis’ line about how goldfish are the happiest creatures in the world didn’t come from Campbell, but he sure does love it all the same.
New episodes of Season 2 of Ted Lasso premiere Fridays on Apple TV+. (Season 1 is currently available on its entirety.)