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.”