Basketball coach, sales and marketing professional, entrepreneur, and author: Stu Wittner has done it all and wants to help others do the same.

Stu Wittner’s personal philosophy is “a win a day.” It’s the question he asks himself at the close of each evening: what was his one win? Harnessing this motto makes every achievement significant, no matter how small it may seem at the time.

Indeed, Stu’s cumulative wins have proven tremendous: he’s spent over forty years applying “a win a day” to his different yet surprisingly intersecting careers as a sports coach, a sales and marketing professional, and an entrepreneur. At twenty-three years old, Stu joined Pace University’s basketball staff and became the United States’ youngest-ever basketball coach. His transition into traditional sales and marketing allowed him to work closely with many influential global brands. After several promotions into senior sales and marketing management, Stu was fortunate enough to pursue more personalized start-up opportunities.

Now, Stu can add “published writer” to his resume. Stu’s debut book, A Win a Day: What I Learned from Basketball That Made Me a Sales Professional, combines the insights he’s gained from his varied experiences and distills it into clear, actionable advice for sales and marketing professionals at any level of experience.

Looking back over his life, Stu says he dives into opportunities “up to his eyeballs.” Publishing a book wasn’t always on Stu’s radar, but he approached authorship with his customary enthusiastic commitment. Just like nurturing young athletes or mentoring his sales and marketing team, Stu swung for the fences with a focused, astute purpose. He wrote his book using proven, successful publishing techniques. But first, for this writing journey to become a win, the former basketball coach needed an experienced teacher.

Prioritizing Relationships

Stu’s transition from college coach to sales and marketing professional was an enlightening experience for many reasons. For one, the two roles had more overlap than he anticipated. Part of Stu’s fast-paced job at Pace University involved recruiting players. He traveled the country, forged professional connections, and sold the basketball program’s value to prospective players and agents. The experience proved incredibly meaningful for Stu. Nevertheless, at a certain juncture, Stu naturally wanted to shift his passions into a different professional arena.

One of Stu’s contacts put him in touch with Converse. At the time, Converse was the official shoe of the NBA and therefore an enormous company with ample career development opportunities. It was an ideal transition: Stu could leave basketball but remain close to athletics.

Stu worked with college coaches and pro athletes as part of his new sales and marketing role with Converse. That was familiar ground. The aspect Stu didn’t anticipate was the “dirty” work. Converse’s training program put him through his paces. Quickly, Stu found himself in a sporting goods store basement manually taking inventory. This was the 1980s; there were thousands of shoes and no bar codes to scan. Before the day was through, Stu was drenched in sweat and covered in dust.

Stu loved the experience. Converse was a true sales and marketing job. He spent roughly half his time selling shoes at department stores and the other half dashing out of state to talk with a university’s basketball program. His “a-ha moment,” the inspiration that would form his future book, boiled down to a single thought: sports coaching and sales and marketing weren’t that different. Both jobs involved selling an idea. Success in either area hinged upon developing meaningful relationships, which in turn fosters personal growth. Stu had learned from his lifelong friend and mentor to be a “relationship-focused” professional. Decades later, some of the individuals Stu met during his time with Converse remain his close friends.

“I’m going to recruit these Converse buyers the same way I was taught to recruit [basketball] players,” Stu explains. With this realization in mind, he poured his heart and soul into the sales and marketing world’s multiplicity of rewards.

Finding the Right Fit

Once Stu realized he wanted to impart his experiences to other professionals, a book seemed the most logical step. Employing a writing coach on his journey was never in doubt. Stu believes in partnering with trusted professionals at every business level. He considered himself an experienced communicator from his decades in sales and marketing, but he understood that crafting a non-fiction book required a different skill set. The right coach could teach him the best methods.

He didn’t look far for a writing coach. No less than three of Stu’s acquaintances had already published books under the guidance of The Book Professor® founder, Nancy Erickson. Once Stu learned about Nancy’s detailed process via The Book Professor® curriculums, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind. Nancy was the perfect match for his goals. He selected a program and set to work.

Building a Story Over Time

Nancy did not disappoint. “The process was perfect,” Stu says of his experience with The Book Professor® curriculum. First, he identified his book’s purpose statement. He outlined each chapter through the BookMAP method, which helped him organize his goals into key talking points.

As Stu drafted and re-drafted A Win a Day: What I Learned from Basketball That Made Me a Sales Professional, Nancy asked if he had grown tired of his book yet. “I never was,” Stu recalls, “even when I had to reread it nine times!” He didn’t experience writer’s block and credits that freedom to The Book Professor®’s four-step process. Nancy’s insightful questions cut through the extraneous noise and helped him convey what was truly important. The BookMAP structure and consistent weekly schedule let Stu harness his ideas with clarity. Everything was a sturdy building block, and Stu felt gratified as he watched his manuscript evolve.

In a way, Stu realized that writing a book also counted as selling — it was just the selling of a specific story. He “couldn’t be more thrilled” with the process and the results.

Hard Work Always Pays Off

No creative endeavor lacks challenges. So, what was the most challenging part for Stu?

“Waiting for it to all get done,” he says with a chuckle. He would have preferred to wave a metaphorical magic wand and complete his book within a month. Writing doesn’t unfold that quickly. Even if it did, the story’s potential would go unrealized. Refined prose requires time, consistency, and effort.

Already a natural morning person, Stu loved The Book Professor® program’s built-in discipline. Committing to a weekly schedule was easy yet invigorating for a man of his disposition and experience. It was the finer details where the challenges raised their necessary heads. He never realized how subtle revisions could be, and how impactful. Removing superfluous words enhanced his writing from competent to sharp. Through Nancy’s mentorship, Stu discovered cadence and flow. Magic wands don’t exist, but when Nancy intuitively refined his sentences, it seemed effortless on her part.

When Stu began his draft, he didn’t enjoy the age-old adage that “the first manuscript is the bad manuscript.” What did that mean for all his hard work? Would it be worthless? The opposite was true. The editing process was his story’s skeleton key.

Making the Professional Personal

Although his experience with The Book Professor® included many riches, Stu particularly appreciated Nancy’s straightforward manner. Her feedback was never cruel, but her suggestions were direct and confident. He never asked how many books Nancy’s edited across her career because her reputation speaks for itself. Her accomplished discernment bolstered Stu’s work into the best possible product. Moreover, Nancy had his back, and that knowledge was a constant comfort.

Pivotally, Nancy helped Stu strengthen his story by shifting his perspective. She prioritizes personal stories. Stu is a man with many stories. He assumed sharing his life meant reciting events like a textbook. Instead, Nancy encouraged a different path. Highlighting the personal is the best way to teach a reader. Just like the personal connections Stu formed with potential clients decades earlier, he needed to connect with his readers. The greater his vulnerability, the more his audience would respond. Nancy coaxed personal depths from Stu. That personalization strengthened not just his stories but also his capability as a growing writer.

Although Stu’s currently devoting his energy to marketing A Win a Day: What I Learned from Basketball That Made Me a Sales Professional, nuggets of other ideas are stirring in his mind. When those new books are ready to meet the world, Nancy’s the one capable of refining those nuggets into gold. Stu feels eager to work with her again.

A Win for a Lifetime

A Win a Day: What I Learned from Basketball That Made Me a Sales Professional was published by Stonebook Publishing in early August. To say Stu is thrilled with the final product is an understatement. He couldn’t be more pleased with every aspect — even the cover. The disagreement is long resolved, but Stu was initially reluctant to feature himself on the cover. Nancy insisted. After snapping just three pictures, the photographer called Stu the easiest client he’d ever had. What they assumed was a throw-away shot of Stu holding a basketball became his debut book’s official cover.

For a first-time author, working with The Book Professor® was invaluable. It came as no surprise: Nancy is, in Stu’s words, “a proven superstar.” Still, her guidance mattered. Nancy facilitated Stu’s growth and mentored him at every step. He discovered the depths of the story inside him because of her encouragement. That’s not just Stu’s philosophy of a win a day — that’s a win for a lifetime.