Coach Michael Gerard Gainey is a native of Suffolk, Va. He graduated from John Yeates High School in 1983. He also attended Ferrum Jr. College and graduated from East Carolina University with a BS degree in Mass Communication and Driver's Education in 1988. Coach Gainey was born in 1965 to Sylvia Gainey, he has three siblings (Shawn, Joy and Vonnie). He is married to Pamela Gainey, who also teaches Health and Physical Education at Rocky Mount High and is the Head Girls' Basketball Coach. They have two wonderful children, Michael "M.J." Jr. and Michelle.
During his high school days, Michael loved participating in the band, but during the spring of his junior year, he decided to participate in high school sports. He began throwing the discus in track. His first championship experience came as a junior when he qualified to compete in the Virginia 2A state track championship. His senior year, he was the conference, district and regional champion along with another appearance in the Virginia 2A state track championship. He participated in basketball and football during his senior year and was awarded several conference awards, such as best defense in basketball, named to the All-Area and All-District team in football. His coaching experience started during his junior year of high school as well. He coached little league basketball with the Parks and Recreation of Suffolk, Va. During his college experience, Michael played tight end and receiver at Ferrum Jr. College for two seasons. He transferred to East Carolina University in 1985. He played tight end and tailback during the 1985 and 1986 season. Michael continued his coaching experience with the Pirates as a student-assistant coach, in charge of the scout team, during the 1987-88 season.
He started his teaching career in 1989 at George R. Edwards Jr. High School in Rocky Mount. He was the Head 9th grade boys' basketball coach and assistant football coach at Rocky Mount Sr. High. While teaching and coaching at Edwards, Michael received his Health and Physical Education certification. Michael coached several other teams while teaching at Edwards. He coached the 8th grade girls' softball team during the 1991 season. He coached the boys' track team from 1992-1995. He moved over to Rocky Mount Sr. High during the 1995-96 school year were he became the assistant varsity boys' basketball coach. In 1996, he became the head coach of the JV boys' basketball team. After that season, Michael was named head boys' varsity coach of the Gryphons. Even though he was coaching at the high school, Michael found time to coach football and basketball with Rocky Mounts' Parks and Recreation Department. Since being named the head coach in 1997, he has led the Gryphons to eight conference regular season titles and eight conference tournament titles. He has also been awarded five Conference Coach of the Year awards. Under his guidance, the Gryphons have qualified for fifteen state playoff appearances, Five regional appearances, two regional titles and two state championships. He was also named the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association State Coach of the Year in 2012. Along his journey, Michael also became the Athletic Director at Rocky Mount Sr. High in 1999. During his tenure as the Athletic Director, the Gryphons have won the Wachovia Cup, now the Wells Fargo Cup, for the conference, 6 years in a row starting from 2006 to present.
In 2010, Michael was the Head Coach of the Boys' Basketball East/West All-star team and in 2012 he served as the assistant coach in the NC/SC Carolinas Basketball Classic. Coach Gainey truly enjoys seeing young people excel in school, in extra curricular activities, and post-secondary endeavors. His brightest highlight during his coaching career was in 2010 at the NCHSAA 3A State Championship game. He was amazed to see the community support at the game. The atmosphere was electrifying and truly memorable.
Michael has been awarded the SRA Human Relations Teacher of the Year Award in 2003; The Homer Thompson Memorial-Eight Who Make a Difference Award in 2005; The Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award in 2013; Toby Webb Coach of the Year Award in 2014, Nash-Rocky Mount Teacher of the Year 2018-19; Athletic Director of Excellence Award in 2019. Inducted in the NC Athletic Director Association Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
He has been a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and the North Carolina Coaches Association since 1989. Furthermore, he has been a member of the North Carolina Athletic Director's Association since 1999 and a member of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association since 2008. He became a Certified Master Athletic Administrator with the National Federations of High School Sports in 2014. He served on the North Carolina High School Board of Directors from 2019 to 2022.