Coach Mary Birdwell gained a deserved reputation as one of the hardest working & most dedicated teacher/coaches in the Hoover School System. I can personally attest to that fact as I worked with her for a period of time in the 1980’s coaching track together at Simmons Junior High (now middle school). I’m sure I could compose a full volume book on her career with stories & tributes from former student/athletes and teaching colleagues.
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 spent her early years following her father around the nuclear plant where he worked as an engineer & also as the director of the athletic teams for the plant. Her interest in athletics sprouted from watching sports & playing them with her many siblings & cousins and once remarked, “As long as I can remember, I was always playing sports. We didn’t have competitive youth leagues for girls. We had intramural leagues and I was always very competitive.”