Before being recruited to Norwood, Michael Coligan had played with Rostrevor College in 1966 and 1967 and in 1968 played with Christian Brothers Old Collegians FC in Division A2 Amateurs. He also spent a couple of seasons playing Sundays with Tranmere YCW (Young Christian Workers) who were Premiers in 1968 under coach Lawrie Sweeney, the legendary SANFL umpire. Coligan also capped off a great season that year by leading the YCW Association goal kicking. After a game of YCW football late in the 1968 season, Robert Oatey and Gil Butchart came into the change rooms and invited Coligan to pre-season training at Norwood in 1969.
Michael Coligan made his League debut with the Redlegs in 1969, but an ankle injury saw him miss the next round and then play the following eight in the Seconds. He was selected to play for the SANFL State Seconds against a combined NSW team on the 7 June at the Sydney Cricket Ground which South Australia won by 24 points, with Coligan kicking 4 goals. At the end of the season he was announced the winner of the club's Best First Year player award.
In 1970 the strong marking, quick leading full forward topped Norwood's goal kicking with 77 goals, 10 of which came in a game against Sturt, standing Tony Burgan. Then, in 1972 he went one better, kicking 81 goals and winning the SANFL goal kicking award.
Injuries and business commitments led to early retirement in mid 1973. However, after returning from travelling overseas in May 1974, he attempted a comeback which sadly was thwarted by a knee injury sustained at training and required a cartilage to be removed. The club awarded him a Five Year Player Certificate (1969-1974).
Coligan was back in the League side for Round 1 of 1975, and in the Seconds for the remainder of the season. His last Norwood game was as a member of the 1975 Reserves Premiership team which easily defeated Sturt in the Grand Final.
In 1977 he appeared briefly for the Athelstone FC before moving to Mt. Gambier to work for the YMCA as a recreation officer. He played in the Western Border League for the North Gambier FC, coached by former Norwood team mate John Menz, and alongside Andrew Jarvis who later went on to join Norwood. On debut, Coligan kicked 11 goals, 10 to half-time against Heywood FC.
In 1998 and 1999 Coligan worked in Sydney and was responsible for the fit-out, staff recruitment, training and operation of a new $30 million swimming, sport and fitness complex in the Sydney CBD at Hyde Park. In 2000 he was appointed as General Manager of the NSW AFL ‘Black Diamond League’, a new football competition between teams from Newcastle and the Central Coast of NSW. He returned to Adelaide after the Sydney Olympics to take up a position as General Manager, Swim SA.
Michael Coligan was a member of the Norwood Football Club Committee in 2001 and was inaugural Chairman of the NFC History Group from October 2009.
R Cialini May 2014