In memory of Ronnie Deen Coker

Ronnie Deen Coker and wife Kelly

By Josh Beavers

Ronnie Coker was not only a successful coach and player, but he was also a man of deep faith who always loved God and spread the Gospel to those around him. His devotion to our Lord was evident in all aspects of his life, and he lived out his faith in everything he did.

And now, after a long fight, Ronnie has been called home. 

Whenever someone passes, I hope there’s someone around to remember them and to share memories of that person’s time on God’s green Earth. Ronnie left an indelible mark on so many that choosing tributes was difficult. In the end, I found three that touched my heart and illustrate just how important Ronnie was to those around him. 

Madison Rowland said: “One of the most selfless, intentional, and invested people I’ve ever known. This was never displayed more than a few nights ago as I stopped by to make peace with an imminent, gut-wrenching goodbye. With cancer’s carnage physically evident, leaving Mr. Ronnie too weak and exhausted to turn his head or verbally respond most of the time, he mustered up the strength to get to his feet and give me one last hug, just like the one captured years ago. As he stood with assistance and draped his arms over my shoulders, his own death certain and soon, all he wanted to know was how “Ma Ma” was doing — the nickname he yelled from teeball games, to high school basketball games, and in thousands of memories along the way. Our last exchange is one I will cherish for the rest of my life. I wish I could say I was surprised, but this is who Mr. Ronnie was; to me, to my family, to all of us. I know last night, as he drew his last breath and stepped into Heaven, he needed no assistance sprinting to Jesus, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he asked Him how He was doing, too. What a privilege it is to be known, loved, and invested in by Ronnie Coker. May we remember our interactions with him, may we hold them close, and may we strive to emulate him in our interactions with others going forward. The world will be a much, much brighter place for it.”

Ronnie was not only a legendary coach but also a skilled athlete who played a pivotal role in the championship runs for Minden High School in the 80s. He was a born leader who knew the game inside out, and his dedication to his team was unmatched.

Ronnie’s passion for the sport was evident from an early age, and he quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the field. He was a fierce competitor who always gave his all, and his determination inspired his teammates to do the same.

Doug Warner said: “I learned a short time ago Coach Ronnie Coker’s battle with cancer has ended. The well-loved local high school baseball coach and athletic director touched so many lives, at a host of different schools. It was just a week ago schools from all across the state contributed to this prayer fence that was installed in Coach’s backyard. What a beautiful gift and tribute. Rest in peace, Coach. And continued prayers to his wife, family, friends, and the many who grew close to him through the years.”

After his playing career, Ronnie transitioned to coaching, where he continued to make an impact on the sport and the lives of his athletes. He was a master strategist, always finding ways to outmaneuver his opponents and lead his team to victory.

Ronnie’s legacy as a player and a coach will forever be remembered by those who knew him. He was a mentor, a leader, and a friend to all those he coached, and his impact on their lives extended far beyond the playing field. He inspired generations of athletes to reach for their dreams and become better versions of themselves.

Micah Dunn said: “True story… Ronnie Coker aka the Goat… by the time I was 16 I had attended three different High schools, lost my eligibility my junior year (most important recruiting yr) and all I wanted to do was graduate and play ball with my friends my senior year. He made it happen. His heart was pure Gold. When everyone was telling me no, he welcomed me with opened arms. The day I graduated, he gave me a hug and told me I was a great kid and I’d do big things in life. I’ll never forget you Coach. LL Coach Coker.”

Ronnie’s love for God was a guiding force in his coaching career, and he always sought to instill values of sportsmanship, integrity, and respect in his athletes. He believed that the lessons learned on the playing field could be applied to all areas of life, and he encouraged his athletes to strive for excellence both on and off the field.

Beyond his coaching career, Ronnie was also a passionate Christian who shared the Gospel with all those he met. He believed that the message of Christ’s love and salvation was something that everyone needed to hear, and he lived out his faith in a way that inspired others to do the same.

Although Ronnie is no longer with us, his spirit lives on in the memories of those he coached and the countless lives he touched. He will be deeply missed, but his contributions to the world will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Ronnie, and thank you for everything you did for your athletes, the sport you loved, and the Gospel you shared.