Wigan Athletic are delighted to announce the appointment of Gregor Rioch as the club’s new Academy Manager, responsible for the club’s young players between the ages of 9 to 21.
The 38 year-old joins Latics after six and a half highly successful years at Coventry City, in which he has overseen a complete transformation of the youth set up at the Sky Blues, with 21 players coming through the ranks to make their first team debuts, amassing approaching 500 appearances between them.
Rioch is regarded as being one of the top youth football coaches in the country and he has been brought in to Wigan Athletic to continue to develop the club’s academy, established just 18 months ago in place of the former Centre of Excellence.
A cultured defender who played for Peterborough United, Hull City, Macclesfield Town and Shrewsbury Town, Rioch is also the son of former Latics manager Bruce Rioch, and is excited at the prospect of working for Latics himself:
“The potential is here for all to see and this is an amazing opportunity to start shaping the future of the club. I enjoyed my time at Coventry and hopefully I have left the club’s academy in a very healthy state. But now it is time for a fresh challenge.
“Now my focus is on Wigan Athletic and the future of the club. I can’t wait to get started and begin building towards the future.”
Chief Executive Jonathan Jackson said: “This is a real coup for the club and is a very significant appointment at an important time. Youth development will be a major element within our strategic future planning augmented by the creation of new academy facilities at Charnock Richard within the next two years. Gregor is a talented, experienced and very well respected coach who will have full responsibilities for the football academy at Wigan Athletic.
“The Wigan Athletic Academy has been established by the sterling efforts of interim manager Matt Jackson over the past 18 months, alongside coaches Neill Rimmer, Kenny Williams, Tim Lees and Jake Campbell, all of whom have worked extremely hard to provide the foundations of a successful football academy.
“Wigan Athletic once had a great reputation of bringing through young talent and we are beginning to see the product of our recent work now. We currently have two products of our youth system in the first team squad in Callum McManaman and Lee Nicholls, which has not happened for over ten years.
We have been looking for the person who shares our ambition and vision to recruit and develop players from an early age and create a reputation for excellence and style and Gregor is the ideal person. He has an growing reputation within the game and I am delighted to welcome him to the Club.