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James Roland ("Jim", "Coach Mac") McCachren passed away Friday morning, May 10, 2013. Born on September 16, 1911 in Charlotte, North Carolina to Jonsie and Roland McCachren, he was one of 5 brothers and 7 sisters and the last to survive. Jim was predeceased by his wife, Polly, and his son, James R. McCachren, Jr. He is survived by his three grandsons, Michael B. McCachren, Winter Park, Florida, David J. McCachren, Tallahassee, Florida, James R. McCachren, III, Jacksonville, Florida, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins and his beloved companion, Ms. Alois Byers of Gainesville.
Jim was involved with sports at an early age and spent many of those years at the Charlotte YMCA with his brothers. He attended Oak Ridge Military Academy before enrolling at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. At UNC, he lettered in both football and basketball, was an All-Southern Conference player in 1934, 1935, and 1936 and was captain of the UNC basketball team in 1935-36. Upon graduation, Jim returned to Oak Ridge to coach the basketball team and later became the director of athletics. During World War II, Jim served as Lt. Commander in the United States Navy at various posts including NAS Jacksonville. In Jacksonville, Jim married Evelyn Pauline Lightfoot to whom he was married for over 50 years before she passed away in 1996.
In 1945, Jim arrived in Gainesville to begin his career at the University of Florida. He was a founding member of the first faculty of the University College of Physical Education (now the College of Health and Human Performance) in 1946 and taught a wide range of physical education classes for 50 years before officially retiring from UF in 1996. While at UF, Coach Mac was also the assistant men's basketball coach for over two decades (while serving as the head coach of the Freshmen Basketball team) and helped coach various other sports. Coach Mac loved handball and racquetball and would frequently play with students and faculty at the courts that used to line University Avenue at the north end of the football stadium.
In 2000, Coach Mac was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also an active member of the Gainesville Quarterback Club, Tip Off Club, Golden Era, and a member of the F Club. He was a long time member of the First United Methodist Church.
The Family will receive friends on Tuesday, May 14th, 5-7 p.m. at Williams-Thomas Funeral Home at 404 North Main Street, Gainesville, Florida. A Celebration of Jim's Life will be held on Wednesday, May 15th at 11:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church at 419 N.E. 1st Street, Gainesville, Florida with Pastor David Averill and Pastor Douglas R. Kirk officiating. In lieu of flowers, Jim specifically requested memorial gifts be made to the Lee-McCachren Endowed Scholarship Fund (UF Foundation), College of Health and Human Performance, ATTN: Shari Mack, P.O. Box 118200, Gainesville, Florida, 32611-8200.
Arrangements are under the care of WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME DOWNTOWN, 823 N.W. 143rd Street. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION WILLIAMS-THOMAS DOWNTOWN (352) 376-7556
Published in Gainesville Sun from May 13 to May 14, 2013
Williams-Thomas Funeral Home Downtown
404 North Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601