High school football coach Rob Mendez, who was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder that caused him to be born without arms or legs, will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at next month’s ESPYS.
“I am incredibly honored, excited and humbled to receive this honor,” Mendez said. “I still remember one of my favorite all-time ESPN anchors Stuart Scott delivering his Jimmy V Award acceptance speech. Thank you to ESPN and all of my family, friends and of course players for believing in me! Who Says I Can’t!”
Mendez developed a passion for football at an early age and has channeled his passion into a standout coaching career. He taught himself the fundamentals of football using the Madden video games, became manager of the team as a freshman in high school, and eventually quarterback coach in his senior year.
After graduating, he spent 12 years as an assistant coach for various programs.
In 2018, he was hired as a head coach for the junior varsity football team at Prospect High School in Saratoga, Calif. In his first season, he led his team to an 8-2 record and narrowly lost the league championship game 3-0.
“Rob’s entire life embodies the word perseverance,” said ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro. “From the time he was born, Rob has had to overcome all the assumptions others had about what he couldn’t do. Yet his confidence and fierce dedication to following his dream of coaching have inspired so many people — both on and off the field. He has made such a positive impact on his players, other coaches, parents and many across the community — and we are incredibly proud to be presenting Rob with this award at The ESPYS.”
The ESPYS will air July 10 (ABC, 8 p.m. ET).