|Date of birth||7 July 1939|
|Date of death||9 March 2007(aged 67)|
|Place of death||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Original team(s)||Essendon Baptists|
|Debut||10 May 1958 (when 18), Essendon
vs. Melbourne, at Melbourne Cricket Ground
|Height||188 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||78 kg (172 lb)|
|1963–1965||West Perth||60 (271)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1965.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Ronald Barry Evans AM (7 July 1939 – 9 March 2007) was an Australian rules footballer, Chairman of the Australian Football League (AFL) from 1998 to 2007, as well as President of the Essendon Football Club from 1988 to 1992.
Although not solidly built (he weighed 78 kg), he was 6'2" (188 cm), and his very long arms gave him extra inches in marking contests.
Recruited from Essendon Baptists in 1958 — he had broken the Essendon District Football League's Essendon goalkicking record in 1957 — he played his first senior match for Essendon, as a reserve, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, against Melbourne on 10 May 1958.
Altogether, he played 64 games for Essendon from 1958 to 1962, mostly at full-forward, kicking 210 goals. He played his best football under coach Dick Reynolds.
He missed a number of games through injury in 1961; but, in 1962, John Coleman's second year as coach, he only played six senior games for Essendon, having lost his regular place at full-forward to Charlie Payne.
His brief senior record is impressive:
- 1958: 10 games (2 as a reserve), 27 goals (including 7 goals in one match) — plus 1 night game, 1 goal.
- 1959: 20 games, 78 goals (including 9 goals in a match on two occasions, and 6 goals in a match on another two occasions)
- 1959: full-forward in losing Grand-Final team)1959 VFL season#Grand Final Teams
- 1959: Victorian State Team
- 1959: VFL Leading Goalkicker at 19 years, 78 goals (including 5 goals from only 6 touches in the 1959 First Semi-Final against Collingwood, and 2 goals in the losing GrandFinal against Melbourne)
- 1960: 18 games, 67 goals (including 10 goals in a match on one occasion, 8 goals in a match on one occasion, and 6 goals in a match on another)
- 1961: 10 games (1 as a reserve), 21 goals — plus 1 night game, 3 goals.
- 1962: 6 games, 16 goals
In 1963, he moved to Western Australia, got his form back, and played a total of 60 games at full-forward for the West Perth Football Club in the Western Australian National Football League (WANFL) over three seasons from 1963 to 1965.
- 1963: 97 goals
- 1963: WANFL Leading goalkicker.
- 1964: 84 goals
- 1964: West Perth's Leading goalkicker.
- 1965: 90 goals
- 1965: West Perth's Leading goalkicker.
He retired as a footballer at the end of the 1965 season at the age of 26.
He was a fine wicket-keeper whilst at Caulfield Grammar School; and, much to the distress of its headmaster, S. W. Kurrle, who wanted him to play for the school's First XI, Evans played his first District cricket match for North Melbourne Cricket Club whilst still at school, at 16 years of age.
When he returned to Melbourne after his sojourn in Western Australia, he resumed his cricketing career with North Melbourne, and went on to play a total of 126 games for the North Melbourne First XI.
He captained the First XI, and was made a life member of the Club. His club record of five catches and three stumpings as a North Melbourne First XI wicketkeeper has never been surpassed.
In 1988 he stood for president once again; and, despite Sewell being a hot favourite for the position, Evans won the election. He served as President of the Essendon Football Club from 1988 to 1992.
Evans unexpectedly announced his retirement as president of the Essendon F.C. at the end of 1992. As president he had been responsible for many significant events and changes, including engineering the 1992 move of Essendon's home matches to the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the 1991 retention of coach Kevin Sheedy when it seemed inevitable that Sheedy would move to New South Wales and coach the Sydney Swans.
Soon after his surprise resignation it was revealed that he had been appointed to one of the new positions of AFL commissioner whose task it was to guide, influence and direct the future of the AFL competition. He served as an AFL commissioner from 1993 to 1997 and from 1998 to 2007 he was the chairman of the AFL (i.e., the governing body of the premier Australian rules football competition).
- ABC Online, Former AFL chairman Evans dies. Retrieved 9 March 2007.
- As an individual player, he was never comfortable with the change of coaching style that came with Coleman. Coleman insisted on a far more strong, fearless, and vigorous style of team playing, than that formerly demanded by the gentler, more graceful Reynolds.
- The 1960 season had been conducted throughout a very wet winter. The constant rain and the atrocious condition of many of the grounds — with, for example, the Fitzroy Football Club's home ground, the Brunswick Street Oval often a quagmire — meant that there were very few opportunities for full-forwards in a season that was notable throughout for its very low scoring. (Ross, 1996, p.215.
- 1962 VFL season#Round 15
- Youth has its Pennant Fling, The Argus, (Friday, 2 December 1955), p.29.
- Mapleston, 1996, p. 197.
- There was considerable controversy in 2000 over the fact that, with the AFL's Chairman Ron Evans as its managing director, Spotless Services (through its subsidiary company Nationwide Venue Management, or NVM) was the operator of the AFL's Colonial Stadium, now known as Docklands Stadium — see Channel Nine Sunday Programme Chat Transcript: John Lyons on the AFL and Channel Nine Sunday Programme Transcript: Behind the Rules.
- Norm Smith officially an AFL legend – realfooty.com.au
- Maplestone, M., Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872–1996, Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8
- Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897–1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0
- Ron Evans's statistics from AFL Tables
- Ron Evans's profile from AustralianFootball.com
- Mick Davis, "Farewell for the man who changed AFL" (The Australian, 17 March 2007)
- Patrick Smith, "Dignified leader who always kicked straight and true", (The Australian, 10 March 2007)
- Channel Nine Sunday Programme Chat Transcript: John Lyons on the AFL
- Channel Nine Sunday Programme Transcript: Behind the Rules