Live Oak’s beloved “Coach London” dies at 70

Freddie Mack London, known as “Coach London” and dedicated majority of his life to Live Oak Middle School, has died.

He was lovely referred to as “Coach London” even after he became a principal at Live Oak Middle in Watson in Livingston Parish.

His family tells Unfiltered with Kiran he died Wednesday, Dec. 28th from a heart attack at the age of 70.

“Just old age, he fought as long as he could,” said his baby sister Rena London. “He was still trying to farm and produce but it overtook him.”

London was from Watson having graduated Live Oak High in 1972 before he went on to Southern University. After graduating from Southern, London started at Doyle High School in 1976. Despite his love for Doyle, London wanted to get back home to Watson.

“He ended up working there a few years. He ended up in the Live Oak Middle School since we’re from Watson. He coached football and basketball and for years, they always had winning teams at the middle school,” said Rena London.

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. Rena London said three others had been named principal but that was during desegregation. Despite being the principal, Rena London said everyone still called him “Coach London.”  

“Ninety percent of his life was Live Oak. It made a huge impact on his life. He loved Live Oak. One student who needs to be recognized is Dean Walters. He always comes back and checks on Fred. They would go to playoff games together. So many of his students have come back. His former student is who gave him the call about his daughter when she died. There was a huge connect with his students. It was like a family,” said Rena London. “There were so many situations where parents couldn’t control their children. They would call him and say, ‘Coach, can you tell them’ so my brother also helped play a life coach for so many children and even their parents. Even though he had his two girls, he took all the children as his own. He wasn’t a person where he wasn’t connected. In education, we’ve lost a lot of that connection but not him.”

HAVE PICTURES WITH COACH LONDON? SHARE THEM

London’s daughter LaRaye London Phillips was killed in a car crash on 12/12/12. He leaves behind his other daughter Candace Rae London Odds, son-in-law Ramon Odds, the mother of his children, five grandchildren, nephew Avery London and nine siblings.

London was one of 12 siblings. Nine of them are alive and five of them were in education.

“He was the epitome of our dad. He was a good father, loved his girls, good provider. He loved education, loved children. He was a self-taught musician. Fred was the piano player. He loved farming and sharing his crops and preserving the crops,” said Rena London.

Funeral arrangements have not been set at this time but the family said services will be open to the public.

About Kiran Chawla 1141 Articles
I'm an Emmy & Murrow Award winning investigative reporter who simply loves my job!

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