February 11, 2023

We're doing a legendary coaches series. Often we know a lot about the achievements of specific athletes, but little about the coaches who helped them achieve greatness.

As coaches, we tend to look for a competitive edge for our athletes. It's one thing to simply prescribe cutting edge, best practice training. It is another entirely to deeply understand the driving mentality behind an athlete, and how to weaponise it to make them greater than they could ever imagine.

Cus D'Amato was an American boxing trainer and manager who was widely regarded as one of the greatest boxing coaches of all time. Born in 1908 in Bronx, New York, D'Amato started his career in boxing as a fighter, but soon transitioned to coaching after a hand injury forced him to retire. Over the course of his career, he trained numerous world champions, including Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, and José Torres.

D'Amato's coaching style was marked by his intense passion for boxing and his unwavering commitment to his fighters. He was known for his strict discipline, pushing his fighters to their limits both in training and in the ring. However, he also had a soft side and was deeply compassionate, always looking out for the well-being of his fighters both in and out of the ring.

D'Amato was a true innovator in the world of boxing, and he was ahead of his time in many ways. He was one of the first coaches to incorporate psychological training into his fighters' preparation, recognizing that a strong mental game was just as important as physical skills in the ring. He also placed a strong emphasis on conditioning, using grueling training sessions to build the endurance and strength of his fighters.

The relationship between D'Amato and Tyson was a unique and special one, and it was evident that D'Amato truly cared for the young fighter. Tyson himself has spoken about how much he loved and respected D'Amato, and how much of an impact he had on his life. D'Amato's legacy lives on through the countless fighters he helped to shape, and through the many who continue to be inspired by his passion and commitment to the sport of boxing.

D'Amato was known for his unique coaching style, which emphasized discipline, focus, and a relentless work ethic. He was a strict taskmaster who demanded the best from his athletes, but he also served as a mentor and protector to them, treating them like family and going to great lengths to look after their well-being both inside and outside the ring.

Mike Tyson, who he took under his wing at the age of 13. Tyson had a troubled upbringing and had been in and out of juvenile detention, but D'Amato saw something special in the young fighter and took him in, providing him with a stable home and a rigorous training regimen. Under D'Amato's guidance, Tyson quickly rose through the ranks and became one of the most feared boxers in the world.

However, D'Amato's influence on Tyson went far beyond just his training. He also served as a mentor to the young fighter, teaching him the importance of discipline, respect, and hard work. He instilled a strong sense of self-confidence in Tyson, encouraging him to believe in himself and his abilities, and he was always there to offer support and guidance whenever Tyson needed it.

D'Amato's coaching style was built on a foundation of discipline and hard work, and he was always pushing his athletes to be their best. He was a master motivator who understood how to get the best out of his fighters, and he was known for his ability to instill a sense of fearlessness in his athletes. He believed that fear was the biggest barrier to success, and he worked tirelessly to help his fighters overcome it.

Despite his tough exterior, D'Amato was a compassionate man who genuinely cared about his athletes. He looked after them like they were his own children, and he was always there to support them, both in and out of the ring. He was a father figure to many of the fighters he trained, and his influence on their lives extended far beyond the boxing ring.

What makes Cus D'Amato stand out as a legendary coach? He was a mentor, a protector, and a friend to the athletes he trained, and his influence as a coach will serve as an example for generations to come.


  1. "Iron Ambition: My Life with Cus D'Amato" by Mike Tyson and Peter McCabe
  2. "Cus D'Amato: Iron Mike's Maker" by Randy Gordon and Craig Wolff
  3. "The Greatest: My Own Story" by Muhammad Ali with Richard Durham
  4. "Kings of the Ring: The History of Heavyweight Boxing" by Eddie Goldman.


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