Ray Mathias began his coaching career with Wigan Athletic and he went on to spend three years in charge of the Latics from 1986–89. The highlight of this spell was leading Wigan to the FA Cup quarter-finals in 1987.
After his spell at Wigan, Ray joined Tranmere as a coach but then returned to Wigan as manager for the 1998–99 season, where he went on to lead the club to victory in the Football League Trophy final at Wembley and to the Second Division play-offs.
After once again becoming part of the managerial set-up at Tranmere he was appointed manager on a permanent basis in 2002.
Later Mathias had a short spell as caretaker spell at Chester City in 2004 and briefly worked as assistant manager at Bury in 2005.
In October 2006, he was appointed as assistant manager to Paul Ince at Macclesfield Town. Ince and Mathias were able to guide the Silkmen to an unlikely survival, before they moved to MK Dons and achieved more success, by winning the League Two championship and the Football League Trophy. They subsequently moved to the Barclays Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in June 2008.
On 4 February 2011, Ray joined Stockport County initially as Technical Advisor to Peter Ward and Alan Lord, before he was appointed manager.
As a player, Mathias played solely for Tranmere Rovers from 1964 to 1985. He earned two testimonials in the process and made 567 Football League appearances.