Wishaw, Lanarkshire born centre forward Archie Coats began his football career with Bothwellhaugh Athletic and he played for Wishaw Juniors before joining Portsmouth, where he was on their books but failed to graduate to the first team. He joined Glentoran in 1932 but soon moved to Bangor. He was scoring goals for Bangor in the Irish League before being spotted by Dundee, signing for them in June 1934, making his Scottish League debut in a 3-2 win over Albion Rovers that August. His impact was immediate – he was the club’s top scorer in each of his first three seasons – in 1934-35 with 30 goals and in the two seasons thereafter with 28 and 25 goals.
He was described at the time as “a great favourite of the Dens Park supporters” and “of the roving, energetic type, he is a difficult handful for any centre half back, and shoots well with either foot, nor is he afraid to try a long shot when further progress is barred.” He scored more than 150 goals in his Dundee career and is the club’s second highest ever goalscorer behind Alan Gilzean. He was selected to represent The Scottish League in a 3-2 victory over The Irish League in September 1937.
In total he scored 133 goals in 203 matches for The Dees, but the outbreak of the Second World War effectively ended his career. During the War he joined the R.A.F as physical trainer instructor. He played wartime league football for The Dark Blues in 1939-40 scoring 26 goals in unofficial football, and even made two appearances in 1945-46 before he joined Third Lanark in December 1945.
After just one season with The Hi Hi, Coats signed for Arbroath on the 15th May 1946. He impressed The Red Lichties a few weeks prior by scoring a hat-trick against Dundee United in the Forfarshire Cup.
After two seasons playing, Coats went on to look after Arbroath second XI then after a few years of that, he made the move back to Dundee but onto the opposite side of the street as he took up the reins of managing Dundee United’s second XI in 1950 before his eventual retirement from football.