Cash Birdwell went Home to be with his Lord & Savior on January 4, 2023. He is survived by his wife Lou Beth, son Russ and daughter Jennifer (Tim), siblings Becky Sue Reding and Mike Birdwell and nine grandchildren, plus many many friends & extended family.
Cash was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Mary Birdwell, brother, Hank Birdwell and his sister Beverly Ann Walker.
Cash was born in OK City, on November 17, 1940 to Henry & Mary Birdwell. From Jones High School in Houston, Cash attended & graduated from the University of Houston in 1964. He received his Master’s in Liberal Arts while employed at SMU.
Following college, Cash began his athletic training career at Garland High School, where he worked until he was drafted into the Army in 1966. At Ft Polk, he was told by his CO to get his street clothes on and head by bus to West Point, NY, as a trainer for the Army athletic department. At West Point Cash worked for basketball coach Bob Knight & team captain Mike Krzyewski. Cash also worked with the Army football team and got to know their assistant coach Bill Parcells. As Coach Parcells once said, “Anybody who can work for Knight for a couple of years deserves a medal.”
After the army, Cash served as athletic trainer for the New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams where he made an appearance as an athletic trainer in the 1970 Pro Bowl. He served SMU Mustang student-athletes for over 30 years, working on the Hilltop in 1968 and from 1973-2006.
Several impressionable “Cash expectations” for student trainers & athletes were always be early to work or rehab in the training room, always be early to board bus for a team football trip, and always take off your shoes before entering the training room. For Cash, if you were on time, you were late.
Cash became an SMU Honorary Letterman (2005); he was inducted into the SMU Hall of Fame (2013), the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame (1990), as well as the Southwest Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame (1986). Cash served as trainer for the College Football All-Star Japan Bowl Games (1980-1993) and was National College Trainer of the Year (1978).
After retirement from SMU, Cash worked part-time for the Dallas Mavericks and the annual Cotton Bowl game. Up until two months before his passing, Cash continued to work as an athletic trainer for local community colleges and youth sporting events.
In addition to his professional life, Cash enjoyed family & church life and his civic duty. He and his wife Lou Beth, made several trips to NY City at Christmas time to enjoy the holiday lights and Broadway musicals. They loved river cruises on the Danube and Rhine Rivers, golf in Scotland, and sightseeing in London. Their favorite family vacation was to the Mayan Ranch in Bandera, Texas.
In the past several years, Cash certainly enjoyed supporting 11-year old grandson Easton Franz as he played football, soccer, basketball, baseball. Most of Easton’s teammates & their parents knew who Cash was as he encouraged the team members and often vocally shared his opinion with the officials.
Cash served as a deacon at First Baptist Church, Garland and loved his Sunday School class and the friends he had there. He always looked forward to Sunday lunches with the Lunch Bunch. Cash also gave of his time as a Garland ISD School Board member, 1980-1986.
Always wanting to know the news, old-school Cash subscribed to the Dallas Morning News, and it was his daily early morning routine to read the paper cover to cover; work the crossword puzzle, as well as the scrambled word game JUMBLE.
Cash enjoyed attending SMU football & basketball games, hunting, playing golf, going to movies, watching his favorite black and white TV shows, and napping.
Cash very peacefully left this earth on the morning of January 4, 2023, surrounded by Lou Beth, Russ, Jennifer & Tim. His body was donated to the UT Southwestern Medical Center…..his last act of service.
A celebration of life will be Wednesday, January 11, 10 AM in the Sanctuary at the First Baptist Church of Garland, 801 W. Avenue D, Garland 75040, with a reception to follow. Visitation will also be in the Sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Garland, on Tuesday, January 10, 6:00-8:00 pm.
Officiants will be Oscar Roan, Rev. Richie Butler, and Dr. Greg Ammons.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cash Birdwell Endowment SMU Athletics or to the charity of your choice.
A custom giving link for supporters to make gifts to the Cash Birdwell Endowment for Athletics is http://smu.edu/giving/birdwell.