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Damon West

Former College QB Sentenced to Life in Prison; Now a Story of Redemption to Inspire Others; Bestselling Author, The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson in Creating Positive Change
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Sentenced to 65 years in a Texas maximum security prison, Damon West once had it all.

At 20 years old, he was a Division 1 starting quarterback at the University of North Texas. After a career-ending injury, drugs helped him manage the pain and the disappointment. After graduation, he worked in the U.S. Congress, was a national fundraiser on a U.S. presidential campaign and eventually trained to be a stockbroker for United Bank of Switzerland (UBS). And then one day, while working at UBS, he was introduced to methamphetamines; he became instantly hooked—and the lives of so many innocent people would forever be changed by the choices he made to feed his insatiable meth addiction. In 2009, he was sentenced to 65 years in a Texas maximum-security prison for a string of burglaries—effectively a life sentence.

After a fateful discussion during his incarceration with a seasoned convict, Damon had a spiritual awakening. He learned that, like a coffee bean changing with the application of heat and pressure, he could change the environment around him. Armed with a program of recovery, a renewed faith, and a miraculous second chance at life, Damon worked hard to earn parole and emerged from prison a changed man seven-plus years later. His first book and autobiography, The Change Agent: How a Former College QB Sentenced to Life in Prison Transformed His World, was published three years after his release from prison.

Today, Damon lives a life of recovery and service, going to meetings and sharing his story of redemption, grit, and determination all over the country with schools, churches, athletic teams, corporations, at conferences and inside prisons. His #BeACoffeeBean message has inspired thousands from Walmart to the U.S. Army to the NBA. He is a college professor (M.S. Criminal Justice) and a best-selling author (with coauthor and motivational speaker Jon Gordon) of The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change, which Forbes named to its list of the “Top Twenty Books You Need to Read to Crush it in 2020.” The two also partnered on The Coffee Bean for Kids, which was the genesis for Coffee Bean Clubs being started by students at schools all over America.

In his most recent project, Damon has shared the lesson of the Coffee Bean with dozens of college football teams such as Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas. His next book, co-written with player development coach Stephen Mackey, is a guide to exploring difficult conversations about eliminating discrimination, overcoming adversity and building an inclusive and high-achieving culture—on the football field and in the workplace. The Locker Room: How Great Teams Heal Hurt, Overcome Adversity and Build Unity was published in 2022.

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