Bay Area football coach born without limbs to be honored at ESPYs

Rob Mendez, the head coach of the junior varsity football team at Prospect High in Saratoga, California, will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2019 ESPY Awards Wednesday night.

Mendez was born without arms and legs due to a rare disorder called tetra-amelia syndrome and went through his childhood unable to play football.

According to ESPN, Mendez learned the fundamentals of the sport by playing Madden, and was the team manager of his high school football team as a freshman. By the time he was a senior, he served as the team’s quarterbacks coach.

After he graduated from high school, he spent 12 years serving as an assistant coach at various local high school programs. He was named Prospect’s JV head coach ahead of the 2018 season, and went 8-2 in his first season at the helm.

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“I don’t even have to tell people to get up and be motivated and active in their daily lives,” Mendez told the San Jose Mercury News in 2016. “I just get random people coming up to me. It could get overwhelming at times when I am trying to get my work done. But I know that is essentially what I am here for. I show people that it is going to be OK, and I give them hope.”

Mendez was first profiled in a SportsCenter special in February, and ESPN announced he would win the Jimmy V perseverance Award in June.

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You can watch the SportsCenter feature on Mendez in the video above.

Eric Ting is an SFGATE staff writer. Email: | Twitter:@_ericting

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