Ron CooteAM (born 1944) is an Australian former representative rugby league player whose club career was played with the South Sydney and Eastern Suburbs, both of whom he won premierships with. He is considered one of the nation's finest footballers of the 20th century.The Ron Coote Cup, contested annually by South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters is named in his honour - his entire club career having been played at these two clubs.
Born in Kingsford, New South Wales in 1944 Coote was a South Sydney junior and the son of 1930s Easts forward Jack Coote. He was a tall, rangy lock with an upright running style. He was famous for his outstanding cover defence and low, "round-the-legs" tackling technique. He was bestowed the name "Prince of Locks" acknowledging him as second greatest Australian lock ever (behind "King of Locks" Johnny Raper).
He played 151 games for South Sydney from 1964–71 and 108 games for Eastern Suburbs from 1972–1978. With both clubs enjoying success during his tenure, Coote's Grand Final record is phenomenal. He played in nine Grand Finals in 11 seasons from 1965 to 1975. He won four premierships at Souths and consecutive premierships at Easts in season 1974 and season 1975. An arm injury forced him into retirement in 1978.
He represented Australia in 23 Tests and World Cup games between 1967 and 1975 and was captain for 3 games in the 1970 World Cup.
After football Coote became a successful businessman owning a number of McDonalds franchises. He was at one time a member of the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) judiciary. In 2000 he founded the Men of League program which supports former players, officials and referees who have fallen on hard times. The program offers practical assistance and grants for medical operations; it mentors players about to retire from the game and promotes the game in regional areas. As at 2007 Ron Coote is President of the Men of League Program.
In 2004 he was named by Souths in their South Sydney Dream Team, consisting of 17 players and a coach representing the club from 1908 through to 2004, Coote has also been named in a team comprising Eastern Suburbs greatest ever players.
In 2005 he was inducted into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame. In February 2008, Coote was named in the list of Australia's 100 Greatest Players (1908–2007) which was commissioned by the NRL and ARL to celebrate the code's centenary year in Australia. Coote went on to be named in the second-row in Australian rugby league's Team of the Century. Announced on 17 April 2008, the team is the panel's majority choice for each of the thirteen starting positions and four interchange players. In 2008 New South Wales announced their rugby league team of the century also and again Coote was named at second-row.