This was Mike Abercrombie's 8th grade year....as he relays the story.....Mary was the coach. Mike (as the good boy) was warming up on the starting line and was the only member of his team there. The gun goes off and he see the rest of his team sprinting to the start line upstream through the crowd of runners that had just started. They had to touch the starting line and then run the race. This photo was taken after the race.
Mary Birdwell was my friend. When I took over this site in 2006 she was one of the first people that saw the merit in digital results and a database for coaches and athletes. Whenever Mary would give me a call she would entertain me with stories of her past athletes, tell me what was going on at Birmingham-Southern, and catch me up on what she had been doing since we last spoke. I'm going to miss our phone calls.
The 2002 Hoover Boys Cross Country team. This might be the best boys team ever from Alabama.
Mary Troutman Birdwell was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on Christmas Day-December 25th, 1938. She grew up in the city of Oak Ridge-a few miles west of Knoxville. She graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1956 and later the University of Tennessee in 1960. After some moving around she ended up in Birmingham in 1974 where she was the PE coach at Bluff Park Elementary and served as the 7th grade track coach. In 1979 she was one of the teachers that helped open the new Simmons Middle School.
Mary coached from 1987-1994 at Berry High before it became Hoover High. She coached at Hoover until 2003 when she officially retired. However, she still continued to help Coach Devon Hind with track at times and still worked with track leagues throughout the region. For the last few years, she has helped with the Birmingham-Southern College Track Teams.
The Track & Field facilities at Hoover High's Buccaneer Stadium was named for Mary and a plaque is placed at the inside entrance of the stadium and her name is posted on the championship years sign on the field.
5 in varsity boys cross country (4 in a row from 1999-2002);
14 runner-up finishes
5 indoor track championships
4 runner-ups for both boys & girls.
The freshmen teams won 10 championships in cross country, indoor track both boys & girls.
2 in gymnastics & 2 in swimming.
Some of her professional related activities:
*Director of Hoover Parks & Recreation USATF Track Club for 33 years.
*1997-2011..Youth Chair Alabama USATF
*2008-2015..Region 6 Track & Field Coordinator USATF in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana as well as Membership Chair.
*2007-2015..Rules Chairman-AHSAA Track & Field/North Alabama Director of Officials.
*Member of the Oak Ridge, Tennessee High School Sports Hall of Fame.
*Member of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame.