Mike Gregory

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Mike Gregory
Mike Gregory - Warrington.jpeg
Personal information
Full nameMichael Keith Gregory
Born(1964-05-20)20 May 1964
Wigan, England
Died19 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
Source: [1][2]

Michael Keith Gregory (20 May 1964 – 19 November 2007), also known by the nickname of "Mike", was an English professional rugby league footballer of the 1980s and 1990s, and coach of the 1990s and 2000s. He played for Warrington from 1982 to 1994, and won 20 caps for Great Britain.[1] He was the head coach of Wigan.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Gregory was born in Wigan, Lancashire. He had a distinguished playing career, captaining both Warrington and Great Britain.

He made his début for Warrington on Sunday 5 September 1982, and he played his last match for Warrington on Saturday 12 February 1994, making 222 1st team starts and 24 substitute appearances and scoring 45 tries and a total points of 176. Gregory played and scored a try in Warrington's 14-36 defeat by Wigan in the 1990 Challenge Cup Final.[3]

He captained a Great Britain tour to New Zealand.[citation needed] Gregory was selected to go on the 1998 Great Britain tour of Australasia, and scored a try as the Lions upset Australia in the third Ashes test in Sydney. He won 20 caps for Great Britain, and played once for the Rest of the World against Australia, in 1988.

Gregory's testimonial match at Warrington took place in 1994.[citation needed] He is a Warrington Wolves Hall of Fame inductee[4] and Heritage № 822.

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 Wigan's head coach Stuart Raper in July 2003, Gregory 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. Gregory 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 final was lost to Bradford Bulls.

Illness[edit]

In 2004, it became known 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 Gregory was still recovering from his illness.

Disagreement with Wigan[edit]

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

Gregory felt that during 2004 he would be able to return but that 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 out of court with Wigan agreeing to pay Gregory £17,500. After the settlement, Gregory said:

Death[edit]

On 19 November 2007, Having used a wheelchair for the previous year, Gregory died aged 43.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Coach Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. ^ "1989-1990 Challenge Cup Final". wigan.rlfans.com. 31 December 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Hall of Fame at Wire2Wolves.com (archived)". wire2wolves.com. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Warriors deny Gregory exit", BBC Sport, 3 September 2004
  6. ^ "Former Lions skipper Gregory dies", BBC Sport, 19 November 2007.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Stuart Raper
Coach
Wigan Warriors

2003–2005
Succeeded by
Denis Betts