John U. Bacon’s LET THEM LEAD: “Where Ted Lasso meets The Mighty Ducks” | State

ANN ARBOR, me., Sept. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Upon its release last Tuesday, LET THEM LEAD: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team, a true story about the winless Ann Arbor Huron High School River Rats rising to become the best team in school history in three years, has been attracting attention from the sports pages to the big screen.

“LET THEM LEAD reads like a movie because it deserves to be one,” said screenwriter Jim Burnstein (D3: The Mighty Ducks)

In a recent column, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe wrote, “Check out LET THEM LEAD. It’s where Ted Lasso meets the Mighty Ducks.”

Shaughnessy, a big fan of Ted Lasso, could not have realized how right he was. Author John U. Bacon, who has written five New York Times bestsellers and coached the River Rats, is currently working on adapting his latest book, LET THEM LEAD, into a Hollywood script with screenwriter Jim Burnstein, whose credits include “D3: The Mighty Ducks,” “Renaissance Man” (Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines, and Mark Wahlberg, directed by Penny Marshall), and ESPN’s “Ruffian” (co-written with Garrett K. Schiff, and starring Sam Shepard).

John Bacon proves once again what a great storyteller he is with LET THEM LEAD,” Burnstein said. “Seriously, how many business books out there have the power to bring you to tears? It reads like a movie because it deserves to be one.”

The book tells the story of how Bacon, who scored no goals in 86 games when he played for the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Huron River Rats – their actual name — became Huron’s head coach in 2000, when they were the nation’s worst team, with a record of 0-22-3. But, by ignoring conventional wisdom at every turn and trusting the downtrodden players to lead the team themselves, in three years they notched the River Rats’ best record, at 17-4-5. They ranked fifth in the state, and 53rd in the nation, thereby passing up 95-percent of the nation’s teams – and all without cutting a single player from the winless squad.

Susan Cain, author of the blockbuster QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, wrote of Bacon’s book, “Bacon’s a born storyteller: Some of his stories will inspire you, others will tug at your heartstrings. Some will do both — like the tale of the quiet, third string goalie who led his team to a championship season. But all of these stories will keep you turning the pages. This is the leadership book you’ve been looking for.”

Bacon and Burnstein have also secured producer Eddie Rubin, a rising star who has already produced “Love and Honor” with Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer, also written by Burnstein and Schiff, “The Farewell” with Awkwafina, Robin Wright’s “LAND,” and most recently “The Guilty,” with Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Ethan Hawke, which is set for release on October 1, 2021.

LET THEM LEAD is available at online retailers and bookstores nationwide. For more information on the book and podcast, see

Media Contact:

Christie Bacon

B-Side Works, LLC


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