Motivation Overcomes a Perceived Handicap

Six former Menlo College student-athletes were selected to enter the Menlo College Athletics Hall of Fame by the Selection Committee at the athletic department's Ninth Annual Golf Tournament & Fundraiser in April. The Inductees of 2009 include football standout Mark Speckman, who was born without hands and travels the country as a motivational speaker; Heather Hoffman-Galuteria, the first ever women's basketball inductee; record-breaking football pass-and-catch combo Zamir Amin and Nate Jackson; Brooke Richardson, the only volleyball player to have her jersey retired; and former PGA Tour golfer Al Geiberger.

The six-member group was inducted during Menlo's Homecoming festivities on Oct. 2-3, at the Oaks football game versus Northwest Conference foe Linfield. This year's group raised the number of inductees to 140 with the number of football players or coaches in the Menlo College Athletics Hall of Fame to 59. Geiberger is the seventh golf hall of famer and Richardson the sixth volleyball choice.

With so many accomplished individuals among the class one wonders where to begin. The inspirational story of Mark Speckman '75, however, separates the one-time Oaks linebacker from the rest of the 2009 pack, if ever so slightly. Despite being born without any hands, Speckman overcame the perceived handicap to play his way into the starting lineup at Menlo, where he excelled for two years (1972-74). After transferring from the junior college to Azusa Pacific University, he was named an Honorable Mention All-American in 1976.

Speckman joined the coaching ranks after wrapping up his playing career, eventually landing at Willamette University. Over the past 11 seasons he has accumulated a 63-48 record as the Bearcats head coach, including an 11-1 mark, No. 4 final ranking in the Poll and Northwest Conference title in 2008. Speckman the coach has followed the same trailblazing path he set as a player, coaching the first female college football player and becoming one of the founding experts of the fly offense.

In addition to his coaching duties, Speckman spends time each year giving motivational speeches across the country. Speckman's inspirational story has reached corporate giants such as Nike and Blue Cross, middle schools, high schools, youth organizations, church groups, law enforcement, legal and medical professionals.