Rob Mendez, Born With No Limbs, Accepts the Jimmy V Award at ESPYs

On one of the biggest nights in sports, one of its biggest inspirational figures got to address some of the most recognized athletes. Rob Mendez received the Jimmy V award for courage. He is just a junior-varsity football coach, but he is an inspiration because he has become who he wanted to be, despite being born with no limbs.

After years of preparation as an assistant coach, Prospect High School in San Jose, Calif., gave Mendez the opportunity he had dreamed of — to be a head football coach for the JV football team. In sports, there is an easy way to judge success looking at the wins and losses record. In his first season at the helm, the JV team went 8-2. But Mendez’s success goes much deeper.

The crowd at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday night rose to their feet as Rob Mendez took the stage and clearly were touched by his inspirational story.

“If there’s any message I want to give you guys tonight, it’s to look at me and see how much passion I put into coaching and how far it’s gotten me,” said the 31-year-old coach.

Rob Mendez accepted the Jimmy V award that was named in honor of the late Jim Valvano, who coached North Carolina State basketball and gave an iconic speech to “never give up” only months before he died of cancer in 1993.

Mendez was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a disease that prevents limb growth in the womb. But, despite his severe disability, he has found his calling as a football coach.

“Most everywhere I go, people look down on me. They stare at me. They feel pity. On the football field, with my team by my side, they didn’t see me as a man in a wheelchair. They saw their football coach, a man who believed in them, who taught them about the importance of school, family and living your life the right way. And they all bought in,” Mendez told Fox News.

In his ESPY speech, Rob Mendez told the audience, “When you dedicate yourself to something and open your mind to different possibilities and focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do, you really go places.”

He also addressed his future in football. He has previously said he would like to move from coaching high school football to college and maybe the NFL.

“I’m not done yet. I’ve made it this far, and who says I can’t go further?” And, as he does in every game to inspire his players, he shouted, “Who says I can’t? Nobody!”

View full list of 2019 ESPYs winners

Latest News

Syracuse University campus

News Roundup: TV Diversity, Syracuse Hire, and Segregated Training

Check out our news roundup of diversity and inclusion updates and insights from across the U.S.: Syracuse University Creates Athletics Diversity Position  While most colleges and universities around the county are making COVID-19-related cuts in regard to their athletic departments, Syracuse University has hired Salatha T. Willis as the associate athletic…

What Friends Tell Friends: Choose Kaiser Permanente

Originally published on Integrated, nonprofit health plan tops NICE Satmetrix customer experience benchmark study for 10th straight year. For the 10th year in a row, more people would recommend Kaiser Permanente to a friend or colleague than any other health plan in the nation, according to the recently released…

Cesar Conde

NBCUniversal Sets Ambitious 50% Diversity Goal for Women, People of Color

Cesar Conde, chairman at NBCUniversal News Group, announced a groundbreaking goal to have a 50% diverse workforce at NBCUniversal, according to Deadline. Conde, the first Latino in this role, outlined his plans in an internal video for employees on Wednesday. The ultimate goal is for NBCUniversal, No. 7 on DiversityInc’s 2020…

Mastercard Expands to the U.S. & Canada, Delivering a Search Tool That Identifies What Stores Near You Are Open for Business

Originally published on Search solution complements new Digital Acceleration for Small Business global initiative which helps small businesses advance digitally and drive online commerce As businesses seek to draw customers back both in store and online, Mastercard is introducing new tools to support them. Today, Mastercard announced the geographic…

TIAA Launches Programs to Raise Awareness of Racial Injustice and Support Communities in Need through the “Be The Change” Initiative

On June 30, TIAA announced new virtual programs designed to raise awareness of racial injustice and support communities in need as a part of the company’s recently launched “Be the Change” initiative. One is TIAA’s “Race Against Racism,” an effort in support of The Innocence Project which included more than…

Stop TB Partnership and Johnson & Johnson, with support from USAID and The Global Fund, Announce Price Reduction for SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) for Treatment of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Originally published on Joint efforts aim to accelerate scale-up of WHO-recommended all-oral treatment regimens – a transition urgently needed to help protect the health of people with drug resistant-tuberculosis who are particularly vulnerable during COVID-19 pandemic In 2020, the initiative aims to reach at least 125,000 patients and could…

Toyota, Alabama A&M and Huntsville Hospital Collaborate to Make COVID-19 Testing Easier

Originally published on $100,000 grant provides free service to the community Alabama A & M University (AAMU), Huntsville Hospital and Toyota are developing a mobile health clinic initiative to provide free COVID-19 testing to underserved communities in Madison County. Launching later this year, the mobile medical clinic program has…