Mike Gregory

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Mike Gregory
Personal information
Full name Michael Keith Gregory
Born (1964-05-20)20 May 1964
Wigan, Lancashire, England
Died 19 November 2007(2007-11-19) (aged 43)
Playing information
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1982–94 Warrington 222+24 45 176
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
Great Britain 20+(?) 20+(?)
Coaching information
Club
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1998–01 Swinton Lions
2003–04 Wigan Warriors
Total 0 0 0 0
Representative
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1995 Wales
2002 England Academy
2003 Scotland
As of 2 April 2012

Michael Keith "Mike" Gregory (20 May 1964 – 19 November 2007) was a rugby league player and later coach; the head coach of Wigan and player for Warrington and Great Britain.

Playing career[edit]

Gregory had a distinguished playing career captaining both Warrington and Great Britain, gaining over 20 caps for the Lions. He captained a Great Britain tour to New Zealand. Gregory was selected to go on the 1988 Great Britain Lions tour. He made his Warrington début on 5 September 1982 and playing his last game on 12 February 1994, Making 222 1st team starts and 24 substitute appearances and scoring 45 tries and a total points of 176. Gregory's Testimonial match at Warrington took place in 1994.[citation needed]

Challenge Cup Final appearances[edit]

Mike Gregory played Loose forward/Lock, and scored a try in Warrington's 14-36 defeat by Wigan in the 1990 Challenge Cup Final during the 1989–90 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 28 April 1990, in front of a crowd of 77,729.[1]

County Cup Final appearances[edit]

Mike Gregory played Loose forward/Lock in Warrington's 16–0 victory over St. Helens in the 1982 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1982–83 season at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 23 October 1982, played Loose forward/Lock in the 8–34 defeat by Wigan in the 1985 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1985–86 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 13 October 1985,[2] played Loose forward/Lock, and scored a try in the 16–28 defeat by Wigan in the 1987 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1987–88 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 11 October 1987,[3] and played Loose forward/Lock, and was captain in the 24–16 victory over Oldham in the 1989 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1989–90 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Saturday 14 October 1989.

John Player Special Trophy Final appearances[edit]

Mike Gregory played Loose forward/Lock in Warrington's 4-18 defeat by Wigan in the 1986–87 John Player Special Trophy Final during the 1986–87 season at Burnden Park, Bolton on Saturday 10 January 1987.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

Gregory started his coaching career as assistant to Shaun McRae at St. Helens. He spent three successful seasons at Saints between 1996–98, before taking the head coach job at Swinton. He later joined Wigan, taking charge of the Senior Academy in 2001. He led the youngsters to first place in the 2002 Academy Championship, before being promoted to assistant coach for the 2003 season.[citation needed]

Gregory had international coaching experience with Wales in the 1995 World Cup. He also guided the England Academy team to a historic series victory against the Australian Schoolboys in 2002. He was assistant coach of the Lancashire Origin squad for 2003 and was also appointed as head coach of Scotland for the 2003 European Nations' Cup.[citation needed]

Following the departure of head coach Stuart Raper in July 2003, Mike was appointed head coach until the end of the 2003 season. After Raper's announcement, Gregory had announced his intention to run for the job permanently. It was the first time since Colin Clarke, in 1985, that a Wigan-born man has coached Wigan. He spent three months as caretaker coach, remaining unbeaten for 11 matches and guiding Wigan to the 2003 Super League Grand Final – becoming the first side from outside the top two to make it all the way – before being awarded the job full-time on a 2-year contract. The grand finals was lost to Bradford.

Illness[edit]

In 2004, it was revealed that Gregory had been suffering from progressive muscular atrophy, a form of motor neuron disease affecting his nerves and muscles which he had possibly contracted as early as 2001. The illness blocks signals from the brain getting to muscles, causing weight-loss and affecting speech. He went to the United States for a week in May 2004 for treatment. Ian Millward was appointed as head coach of Wigan while Mike was still recovering from his illness. It is believed that during rugby league duties in Australia in 2003, when Mike was a coach, he was bitten by a tick which was carrying an infection known as borreliosis.[citation needed]

Controversy[edit]

In September 2004 there were reports that Mike's illness would prevent him from returning to his job at Wigan. Maurice Lindsay said that Wigan would continue to employ and pay Mike while he was on sick leave and then wait on advice from medical advisers.[5]

Gregory felt that during 2004, he would be able to return but the club blocked his return to work. He took Wigan and the club's owner Dave Whelan to court claiming Wigan should have done more to help him carry on. The case was settled by the two parties out of court with Wigan agreeing to pay Gregory £17,500. After the settlement, Gregory said:

Death[edit]

Having used a wheelchair for the past year, Gregory died from the disease on 19 November 2007 with wife Erica, parents Joan and Keith, sister Christine and brother Philip by his side.[6]

Honoured at Warrington Wolves[edit]

Gregory is a Warrington Wolves Hall of Fame inductee.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1989-1990 Challenge Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  2. ^ "1985–1986 Lancashire Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "1987–1988 Lancashire Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "10th January 1987: Warrington 4 Wigan 18 (John Player Trophy Final)". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Warriors deny Gregory exit", BBC Sport, 3 September 2004
  6. ^ "Former Lions skipper Gregory dies", BBC Sport, 19 November 2007.
  7. ^ "Hall of Fame at Wire2Wolves.com". wire2wolves.com. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Stuart Raper
Coach
Wigan Warriors

2003–2005
Succeeded by
Denis Betts