Red Cashion Passes
Former TASO Football member and well‑known NFL official Red Cashion passed away Sunday morning, February 10, 2019 at the age of 87, according to the Bryan‑College Station Eagle.
Cashion graduated from A&M Consolidated High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from A&M in 1953 while also playing baseball for the Aggies. He began his officiating career working junior high and junior varsity high school games while a a student at A&M and eventually worked his way up to doing college games before getting a shot at the NFL in 1972. He became a referee in 1976 and retired from the league in 1997, having worked both Super Bowls XX and XXX. In all, he officiated about 500 NFL contests.
Cashion was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and he also served as voice of the virtual referee for several versions of the Madden video game franchise.
Cashion was most known nationally for two words: His signature, drawled “First down!” call during NFL games, according to the Eagle. In his 2013 autobiography, he wrote that two other words “You’re fired” gave him the freedom and courage to make the infectious enthusiasm with which he refereed possible.
“I certainly hope you never have to hear those two words,” wrote Cashion, “unless, of course, they have the same wonderfully positive effect on your life as they did on mine. Being fired was definitely a life‑altering event for me in a good way.”
The two words most synonymous with Cashion came to be, he wrote, because he was fired after one season as an official for the Southland Conference in the 1960s. His initial approach to officiating, he said, was to put forward a “dignified, detached, and stately” demeanor, but Southland Conference coaches said he seemed more aloof than anything.
He wrote that he would not have made it to the NFL if not for being fired – that it changed his perspective and pushed him to overhaul his work and life approach.
“I made a vow to live and work enthusiastically,” he said. “As I met people and interacted with people I already knew, I was stunned by how contagious enthusiasm is in day‑to‑day life.”
Like other NFL referees, Cashion had a second job as he sold insurance with Burgess, Cashion & Haddox in the 1960’s. The company was eventually merged with ANCO. Cashion served as chairman emeritus for ANCO Insurance in Bryan after his retirement from the league.
Cashion is survived by children Joyce Cashion Cain, Jim Cashion, Sharon L. Cashion, and Shelley Cashion White, and by six grandchildren and four great‑grandchildren as well. Services are scheduled for A&M United Methodist Church on Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Callaway‑Jones.