SCOTTISH rugby last night paid tribute to Grant Mackenzie, the Stewart's Melville FP coach who lost his battle against a brain tumour at the weekend, aged 39.
Mackenzie, a scrum-half in his playing days with Gala and Stewart's Melville, was also a PE teacher at Stewart's Melville College in Edinburgh and was responsible for an array of talented young players who have emerged through the school's system.
Scottish Rugby chairman Allan Munro, also chairman of Stewart's Melville FP RFC, paid tribute to the talented coach.
Munro said: "Grant was a tremendous person and an individual blessed with the ability to improve other people; both as rugby players and as individuals.
"He will be very much missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to know him and this tragedy has deeply affected the whole rugby community in Scotland.
"Everyone at the rugby club would like to extend their condolences to all his family."
Mackenzie's passion for rugby was fostered while at school at Dollar Academy. He moved on to teacher training college at Moray House in Edinburgh, where he met his future wife Sian. They married in 1993 and have two children – Murray, aged seven, and Ellie, five.
Having played for Gala, Mackenzie moved to Stewart's Melville in 1996 after taking a teaching post at the school. He became head coach of the first XV when Alistair Christie resigned in December 2002.
Mackenzie was diagnosed with a brain tumour three months ago and the suddenness of his death has left the rugby and teaching community stunned.
Former Scotland cap Graham Shiel, now a National Academy coach, played under Mackenzie at Stewart's Melville FP and latterly coached alongside him.
Shiel said: "Grant was such a well-respected individual both in his occupation as a teacher and in the world of rugby. He was a very talented individual and a very caring individual."