Thomas F. Birmingham '67
Football – Basketball - Baseball
Tom Birmingham came to Austin as the school opened in September, 1963. Attracted by the academic offerings, he knew the sports offerings would be a major part of the life. His four-year athletic career helped make the new Cougars a competitive athletics program. He enjoyed the practices just as much as the competitive games. Lacking facilities, his teams almost always were on the road for their varsity contests. Under the coaching of John Pacino, the varsity coach in all three sports, Tom emerged as a natural and competitive performer, excelling in the sport of the season.
Austin’s membership in the CYO found the sports assigned to the Catholic District in basketball and baseball, and the Catholic Suburban for football. Elected co-captain for two seasons, the varsity basketball team had an overall winning record at 31-28 with Tom earning league All-Star status in his junior year. He is still in ninth place on the basketball scoring leader with 595 points and over a 10-point per game average.
In football Tom earned his status as a two-way starter at linebacker and fullback. In an era when press coverage was limited, the school newspaper recorded Tom’s feats for future Austin students. Their first varsity season was highlighted by a 26-20 win over Don Bosco. Tom scored three rushing touchdowns and a two-point conversion. In senior year the team had no home games, but delighted in their weekly travels. Again Don Bosco was defeated in a home game played in Malden by a 34-0 final and Tom rumbled for two touchdowns.
Tom played three varsity seasons of baseball, as the team struggled with an 11-41 overall record. Tom proved to be a reliable hitter. At the end of his career he was evaluated as “deserving of recognition for his achievements on the playing field as a fine player, game after game, playing both sides of the ball. He intends to go to an Ivy League school.” Tom was the first athlete to be awarded nine varsity letters. He graduated from Harvard, earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford and graduated from Harvard Law School. He still lives in Chelsea with wife, Selma Botman, and daughters Erica and Megan. He was chosen Alumnus of the Month in the March 1992-93 school year.