Football | Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Head Football Coach Mark Speckman is Hired by Menlo College
Led Bearcats to Three NCAA Playoff Berths and an 82-59 Overall Record
SALEM, ORE. – Willamette University football Head Coach Mark Speckman, who has been with the Bearcats for 17 seasons, including 14 years as the head coach, has resigned to become the head football coach at Menlo College, in Atherton, Calif. Speckman attended Menlo as a student and graduated in 1977 when it was a junior college. Menlo is now a four-year college that competes in the NAIA.
“It is with mixed emotions that I am leaving Willamette,” Speckman said. “My family and I have appreciated our 17 years in the Willamette and Salem communities. I am really going to miss working with the outstanding football players on the team. I have been supported by exceptional assistant coaches and many caring alums. The football highlights, big games and great individual players are too numerous to list. I will always be thankful that Willamette gave me a chance to be their coach. It has been an honor.”
Speckman’s Record of Success at Willamette
Speckman concludes his tenure as Willamette’s head coach with an overall record of 82-59 (.582) over 14 seasons (1998-2011). He ranks third at WU in career football victories, trailing only Ted Ogdahl, who went 98-64-10 (.599) over 20 seasons (1952-71), and Roy “Spec” Keene, who was 84-51-6 (.617) in 17 years (1926-42). Including three years as offensive coordinator, Speckman helped Willamette earn a combined record of 110-64-1 (.631).
"Mark has been an incredible mentor, teacher and coach to hundreds of Willamette student-athletes,” said WU Athletic Director David Rigsby. “While his football accomplishments are impressive, his off-the-field record is far more significant. From team community service projects to his individual guidance of countless Bearcat athletes, Mark has been a brilliant educator who used football to teach students about life.
"During my short tenure in the athletic department, Mark has been one of my most trusted colleagues and friends,” Rigsby added. “I am excited for his special opportunity to return to his alma mater, yet will greatly miss his insight, wit, and leadership."
Speckman led the Bearcats to NCAA Division III playoff berths in 1999, 2004 and 2008. In 2008, Willamette was 10-0 in the regular season, won the NWC championship and reached the second round of the playoffs. Also in 2008, the Bearcats set school records with 498 points and 69 touchdowns.
"For 17 years, Mark Speckman has been synonymous with Bearcat football, Rigsby said. “As his campus colleagues would attest, Mark has a unique gift for teaching and motivating those around him. His students include all who took the time to listen -- players, parents, alumni, and Willamette faculty and staff."
Speckman was an assistant coach on Willamette teams that reached the NAIA Division II playoffs in 1996 and 1997. The 1997 team went 13-1 and held an undefeated record before falling to Findlay University (Ohio) in the National Championship game, 14-7.
In 2011, the Bearcats were 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the Northwest Conference (4th place tie). Willamette played one of the most difficult schedules in NCAA Division III, including a game against Portland State University of NCAA Division I. Five of WU’s six losses were by 10 points or less, including four by seven points or less.
Speckman was named NWC Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2008. In 2008, he also was chosen West Region Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and D3football.com, and was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.
Expert on “The Fly” Offense
Speckman is nationally known as an expert on the “The Fly” offense. He often is consulted by coaches from the high school level through NCAA Division I about how to use “The Fly” in their offensive schemes.
In “The Fly,” the flanker goes in motion across the formation on almost every play. He can take a handoff, block on a running play, or become a receiver. The ball can go in several directions, making “The Fly” difficult to defend. Willamette can run the offense out of several formations.
His development of “The Fly” allowed Willamette to rank in the Top 20 of NCAA Division III each season from 1998 through 2010 and to rush for more than 200 yards per game in 13 of his 14 seasons as head coach.
About Coach Speckman
Speckman is a highly-regarded motivational speaker for educational and business organizations. He has delivered speeches to small groups and some of the largest corporations in the world regarding motivation and achieving one’s potential. Speckman, who was born without hands, hasn’t let that limit him in life or in coaching.
He grew up in Belmont, Calif., just south of San Francisco. After graduating from high school, he attended Menlo, where he played football for two seasons. He completed his college career at Azusa Pacific University, where he was an NAIA All-America linebacker and graduated in 1977. He went on to achieve a 113-48-3 (.698) record as a high school coach in California.
“I am excited about our new adventure at Menlo. It is a homecoming for me. I have family and friends in the Bay Area and Menlo is one of my alma maters,” Speckman said. “I have always appreciated the educational and athletic experience I received as a student. It was foundational to launching me on my career path. At this point in my life, I see an opportunity to give back to a school that gave me so much as a young man.”
Speckman was inducted into the San Mateo County (Calif.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and became a member of the Menlo College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. He is in the Willamette University Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the 1997 national runner-up team, which was inducted in 2007.
Within the next few days, Willamette will announce its plans for proceeding to fill the coaching vacancy left by Speckman's departure.
NOTE: Willamette competed in NAIA Division II until 1997. The Bearcats began competing in NCAA Division III during Speckman’s first season as head coach in 1998. Menlo competes in the NAIA, which currently has one division in football.