IT is with deep sadness that we pass on the news that one of our former coaches, Mick Coates, has died suddenly at the age of 61 after being taken ill while out riding his bike in Mossley.
He was our assistant coach in 1998, No 2 to Paddy Kirwan, and he then became our head coach for the 1999 season before he was succeeded in 2000 by Mike Ford.
Oldham RLFC chairman Chris Hamilton said:
“Mick was in on things at the very start of our adventure, as Paddy Kirwan’s assistant when Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd started up in our first season in 1998.
“He was head coach in 1999 — our second season — so he had a big part to play in our formative years.
“All at the present-day Roughyeds were shocked and saddened to hear of Mick’s passing. Personally, and on behalf of the club, I would like to convey deepest condolences to all the family.
“Mick was synonymous with the success of Saddleworth Rangers in the club’s glory days and then he served Roughyeds for two years, first as assistant coach and then as head coach.
“He will be sorely missed by the rugby league community in Oldham.”
Mick leaves a wife, Tracy, two grown-up sons, Michael and Liam and a daughter Jodie.
With Mick in charge as coach, Saddleworth Rangers enjoyed a golden era in the 1990s when they won national and other trophies galore and could legitimately claim to be the best amateur side in the country.
Mick devoted much of his life to Rangers and his passing will be felt deeply at Shaw Hall Bank Road, where the club is still coming to terms with the loss in January this year of chairman and former player Shane Wilson.
Mick’s passing is sure to bring back memories of Shane’s loss only a few months ago. Our thoughts are with both families and with the Saddleworth club.