Sam Birtles was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his service to sport, particularly squash. He was Founder of the Victorian Referees Association and its President for the first 10 years. He was involved with squash for 20 years – as a player, referee and administrator.
Following a distinguished military service in the RAAF Sam returned to Melbourne and joined the Hampton Rovers Amateur Football Club, where he established a remarkable career, captaining the club, winning the A Grade Best and Fairest Award, and representing Victoria numerous times.
After retiring as a player, Sam turned to umpiring and also played in, and refereed squash tournaments. Even after having both legs amputated. Sam continued to be active in sport, both in administration of squash and in playing golf and surfing.