A native of North Shields, Gary was signed from Sunderland 23 years ago and is now considered a local after settling in the City. “It was a tremendous evening and to get the accolade of Lifetime Achievement Award is very special to me. Of course, I would never have received such an award if it wasn’t for the Plymouth Raiders and everyone associated with the club. It’s great for the club too, for me to get this in the club’s Silver Season – our 25th in existence.”
Gary played 356 games for the Raiders before announcing his retirement just before the start of the 1999/00 season. Since then, the Raiders have simply got better and better under his stewardship. He’s become well known throughout the country as an excellent recruiter of players, occasionally plucking players from nowhere that eventually become standout players in a very strong and competitive league.
Raiders currently sit in 3rd position in the BBL with two games in hand on the 2nd placed Marshall MK Lions. He hard arguably his largest success last season when the Raiders won the BBL Trophy, their first piece of silverware in Britain’s top flight.
Gary’s teams reflect his own personality – one of hard work, commitment and consistency. He works tirelessly in the offseason, watching game tapes from the previous season to see where the team can improve, watching recruitment tapes and working the phones to speak to potential players all over the world.
He has built a superb reputation throughout the UK and Europe. He was aggressively recruited by a team in Europe 2 summers ago, but turned his back on an excellent offer to stay in Plymouth and help develop the club that has become so important to him.
He also coaches in several schools as part of the Raidercoach Schools and Community Programme. “Working with children is enormously rewarding, not just for me and the other coaches, but for the club as a whole. We’re the only professional basketball club in the South West of England, so a huge responsibility lies on our shoulders to work with children, to give more of them the opportunity to play and watch basketball. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the past on racism and bullying in schools, the work we did to help promote Crimestoppers, and the importance that we can get across to children of healthy eating and exercise.
“I’m Raiders through and through. I love the club,” said Gary. “Ive been here for 23 years now, and can still see so much potential for basketball in the area. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what we could achieve.”
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