By Ryan Hill

DAVIS (CBS13) – As a young boy born in the mid-1950s, no one would have predicted Mark Speckman’s future success on the football field.

“I was born without hands and I was born with nine toes,” Speckman said. “I was the third-youngest person in the United States to ever get fitted for hooks. And, so for most of my elementary school and junior high, I wore hooks all the time. And I hated them.”

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After his high school playing days, he went on to play junior college ball at Menlo College and then transferred to Azuza Pacific.

“I had to just kind of experiment and think ahead and it’s just something I’ve had to overcome,” Speckman said.

But, Speckman said that he wasn’t going to let his physical disability stop his gridiron story from being written.

“I always had a chip on my shoulder. I don’t think I exhibited it outwardly a lot. Some of my friends might disagree. But, I was always kind of going, you know, I’ll show you,” he said.

Speckman showed he could excel as a player then turned into a coach at the college and pro levels in Canada. The assistant coach at UC Davis showed players nothing can stop a driven and positive mind.

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“I think anybody that’s got any kind of physical handicap out in the real world, I mean, you better have a pretty good attitude,” Speckman said.

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He is making loved ones proud every day. Speckman’s wife Sue sees that positive attitude in coaching and in life.

“He’s so persistent. And, you know, he has this mantra of figure it out. For the 31 years I have been married to him, every day he’s been figuring it out,” Sue Speckman said.

On a Sunday afternoon day where it feels like football weather, Speckman and the rest of the UC Davis Football team eagerly wait for fans in the stands.

As they tackle these tough times as one, they’re all following Speckman’s life mantra, figure it out.

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“We can do a lot more than we think we can or what appears impossible really isn’t impossible,” Speckman said.