Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Local coaching legend Donald Littlejohn dies

Longtime Cochrane Middle School teacher and coach Donald Littlejohn died Monday after a long battle with cancer. His funeral is Saturday at Friendship Baptist Church.

Littlejohn, a Gaffney native, taught at Cochrane for 38 years and was revered in local golf circles. The school’s gym is named after him. Littlejohn was the first black player to win the Mecklenburg County Amateur, which he won in 1989 and ’91.

The third hole at Revolution Golf Course, near uptown, was once dedicated to him. A 2001 Observer profile of Littlejohn, then 53, said he was named middle school football coach of the year 13 times and, as an athletics director, won the Dave Harris Award for overall excellence and sportsmanship six times. Littlejohn was named the Charlotte Hornets/Duke Power “Teacher Most Admired” in CMS for the 1999-2000 school year, and he coached 21 division football champions in his first 32 seasons.

“Donald Littlejohn was definitely a good athlete,” said longtime friend John Love. “All golfers in Charlotte and surrounding towns knew he was a dedicated golfer and an outstanding family man. He was a guider of youth, he taught at Cochrane Middle School 38 years. There is no doubt he saw a need to guide young people in a positive manner. He always showed respect for himself and respect for others. He fought his illness with intelligence, a respect for God and love and kindness for his family. He will be missed by many. He will be loved by many.”


Ted Gaskins said...

My condolence to the Littlejohn family. During the 1978-79 school year, I did part of my student teacher at Cochrane Middle School, and coached the 7th&8th girls' basketball team. Coach Littlejohn befriended me. He was a role model on how a young Afro-American male should conduct himself as a facilitator of academics and athletics. What warm memories of a good man.


Ted Gaskins, Boys' Basketball Coach
Lumberton High School

Ted Gaskins said...

correction, student teaching at Coachrane Middle School

Anonymous said...

Why is the Observer just now saying something? This is OLD NEWS. Coach never did git the respect he should've. They never gave him a chance at a High School Position, even though his Cochrane Football teams dominated at one point and time. Even to the point where folk were whining about them averaging 40+ points a game in the late 80's.

Anonymous said...

Met Coach about 6 years ago,,outstanding educator and friend,,he will be missed, he touch the lives of many kids,,RIP

Bobby said...

Went to Junior High at Cochrane, had Coach Littlejohn (along with Brewster and Simpson) for gym. Always took time for each kid, the hallmark of any good teacher. He'll be missed, but he made a lasting impact on many people.

capoole said...

I was a student at Cochrane from 1977 to 1980. Didn't always get along with him, but always respected the man. Years later, when my son started going to Cochrane, I went to see him. Almost 30 years after I was a student, the man remembered me! He treated my son with the utmost of respect, and re-earned my respect. Just found out yesterday that he went home. Rest in peace, Coach!