Live Oak Jr. High gym to be named after Coach London

WATSON — A junior high school gym that burned down in July 2022 will be rebuilt and named after a coaching legend in the area.

At the August school board meeting, it was announced that the new gym at Live Oak Jr. High would be named after Coach Freddie Mack London.

London died in December 2022 from a heart attack at 70. London spent most of his adult life teaching and coaching at Live Oak.

“It is unreal that it is actually happening,” said Coach London’s daughter Candace Rae London Odds. “It’s something that he’d be proud of. He’d be proud, smiling and loud and excited. He loved Live Oak. He loved his family. He loved kids. He loved togetherness, and he loved his community.”

London graduated from Live Oak High in 1972 before attending Southern University. After graduating from Southern, London started at Doyle High School in 1976. After that, he returned home to Watson and worked at Live Oak Middle School.

“He was always so good to all the bus drivers,” said Tamara Pichon, a Live Oak bus driver. “He treated us as if we were the principles. He treated everybody the same. There was nobody that he didn’t influence in some way.”

Coach London spent over three decades at Live Oak Middle, starting as a football and basketball coach in 1979 before he moved up to assistant principal in 1996. In 2007, he made history as the first black principal at Live Oak Middle School during integration.

“I’m very pleased with this and very proud of it,” said London’s wife, Coke Williams. “I’m glad to be a part of it. I’m glad everybody accepted him, and he accepted them.”

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