I grew up in Fremont, California, with a love of sports and a commitment to school. I earned an academic scholarship to UCLA and later attended UC San Diego where I graduated with a degree in journalism and communications. Before my career as a writer, I worked an assortment of jobs, such as baby furniture stock boy, fry cook, car wash attendant, waiter, residential appraiser, stadium announcer, and disc jockey.
I got my first “professional” job while still in college. I wrote sports articles for nearly a decade for the San Diego Union-Tribune. It was exciting to travel to stadiums and ballparks around the country and go on the field and in the locker room to meet the stars. I've been watching the action up close ever since. The greatest basketball players, football players, and boxers have all dripped sweat on me.
I wrote my first young adult book about baseball pitcher Jim Abbott, whom I had known from my work at the newspaper. My second biography was about Olympic gold medal skater Kristi Yamaguchi, who grew up down the street from me in Fremont. After I wrote a four-book series on exercise in which I also took the photographs, I became an author full time. I have written more than 200 books for 11 major publishing companies.
I married my wife, Nancy, at the Hotel Del Coronado. We have two sons, Taylor and Bailey, and six dogs (no limits!). Our family has lived in Napa, El Dorado Hills, and Folsom, and we especially enjoy summertime fun at our cabin in the Sierra Nevada. For challenges, I have flown single-engine airplanes over mountains and deserts and oceans, practiced karate for many years, climbed Mt. Whitney, and competed in triathlons.
In addition to writing books, I have been invited to speak at more than 1,000 schools around the country and internationally. Visiting schools to motivate students truly reflects my priorities and values.