FORMER Murtoa football coach Milne McCooke has died, aged 76.
McCooke coached Murtoa in Wimmera Football League from 1964 to 1967.
He played 13 games for St Kilda across two stints at the club in 1955 and 1957-58.
Horsham's John McDonald played under McCooke and remembers him as a passionate coach and player.
"He was as tough and rough as anyone to come to the Wimmera," McDonald said.
"He made a lot of us younger blokes at Murtoa walk tall. He was a protector.
"He was a great orator and spoke with a lot of passion in his pre-match addresses."
Murtoa's Roger Webb also played under McCooke.
He said he was a versatile player, who played either in the ruck or up forward.
"He was a very tough player but a very talented one as well," Webb said.
"He was quite a good coach and speaker. I think he spoke at one of the 200 Club dinners.
"He was a great townsman, a nice bloke."
Sport and Recreation Minister Hugh Delahunty said his father Frank was president at Murtoa during McCooke's time as coach.
Delahunty said McCooke had left a lasting impression on him.
"I remember him vividly. He was a dynamic big man and a very vocal person," Delahunty said.
"I can still remember him saying 'get that red blood through your veins'."
McCooke's funeral is today at Noble Park.