‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview – Benjamin ‘Coach’ Wade

Whether you love him or you hate him, you have to admit that Benjamin “Coach” Wade was one of the most entertaining “Survivor” players of all time.

We were granted an audience with “The Dragon Slayer” the day after his dismissal from the game and were enlightened with his wisdom pertaining to his “sexist” comments toward Sierra, the truth behind his Amazon story, what it’s like to be a “Survivor” villain, and so much more…

Gordon Holmes: I feel like the editors were having some fun with you with the lightning bolts and the ominous music. How did you feel about your portrayal?
Benjamin “Coach” Wade:
As far as the lightning bolts, I loved that. The editors had a lot of fun with me, and they created this super villain that was a small part of my personality that became a big part. Going through a real negative edit, it was tough, but in the long run I see why they did it. They created a legend, really. My hats off to the producers for creating such a fine character.
Gordon: I noticed last episode that the jury showed up with coats over their shoulders, obviously as a rib toward you. I don’t think you act like that toward somebody that you don’t like deep down.
Coach: I think it’s very wise that you say that. They say that, “Imitation is the finest form of flattery.” And them trying to rib me, and in essence show me down, I loved it. My reaction was a smile.

Gordon: Your tribe mates seemed to express some doubt about your background, namely your adventure in the Amazon, and your injuries and ailments. Was all of that 100% true?
Coach: Yeah, my assistant coach said, “Coach Wade’s body has been through a lot.” A week before we went down there I weighed in at 205 lbs. And I came out at around145 lbs. So I lost close to sixty pounds. As you could see, I was at my wits end at the end, I pushed myself through. Now back to your question, I’m rambling, I always do things to the extreme. And in this game, when I thought about the things that shaped me and molded me into the man I am today, those are very important. Do I think people buy it? No. If I came up to you on the street and said, “Hey, I’m a soccer coach, I’m a symphony conductor, I used to be one of the best trumpet players in the world. I write classical music in my sleep. I went down the Amazon…” You’d say this guy is full of you know what. I’m used to that. If someone hears that and is motivated to be a better person, and I get probably 20-30 fan emails a week saying “I’m going through a tough time, thank you for being an inspiration.” If I can help one person, it’s worth the ridicule.
Gordon: It’s interesting that you mentioned the reactions from the fans. Has it been mostly positive?
Coach: I get mobbed when I travel. And I have 1,000 people come up to me, and I’ve had one person say, “I don’t like how you play the game.” But I know there are negative people out there. They told me early on that I’d be very polarizing, and that’s how I am in real life.

Gordon: Your strategy from the beginning was to take the strongest people to the end, and Jeff Probst called you out on that when you voted out Brendan. Could you explain the thought process that went into you not considering Brendan to be one of the strongest?
Sure, I think that Duk Koo Kim said it best in the ring when he said, “Kill or be killed.” Consequently, he died when he lost to “Boom Boom” Mancini. Let’s look at it. My game plan in “Survivor” wasn’t the best strategy. Brendan, he’s gunning for me, OK, let’s keep Brendan because he’s strong and I’m sitting on the jury. I wanted to keep the strongest in this game and Brendan listened to me on the very first day when I said, “Let’s change this game together.” But, Brendan ignored me, so I started withdrawing from him. And it was either take him out or be taken out. So I would have been foolish not to take him out.

Gordon: Now last night, Erinn went off…

Coach: (Laughs)
Gordon: For no real reason. It didn’t seem to benefit her in any way. If anything, it would poison you if you became part of the jury. Was this par for the course with Erinn?
Coach: Erinn likes to talk. She’d been on a tribe with people who’ve been all over the world, and Erinn hasn’t been anywhere. I think Erinn feels like she’s on the outside looking in. She likes to one-up everyone. The thing that made me sad about that is you didn’t see me mentoring Erinn along the way. And she had changed. And to see her slip back into her old mode was disappointing to me.

Gordon: I don’t want to put you on the spot here, but before this interview is over I’m going to need a nickname.
Coach: (Laughs) How about “The Truth Seeker?”
Gordon: Awesome. Sold!

Gordon: Let’s seek some more truth. Sierra accused you of making sexist comments. How do you respond to that?
Here’s the thing, I’ve been coaching college women for 13 years. When I first started I was 25 years old and the girls were 22. I don’t date people in my own town. I’m very careful about how I act and what I say. It’s just that I have a way of talking that kind of grates at Sierra. I think that Sierra took a lot of things out of context. I know what I say; I know how to treat women. Candace called me “misogynist” over and over again. I think she looked that up and decided to add that to the word of the week. I can guarantee that I’m am not chauvinistic and I think women are the better sex, I think they’re beautiful creatures, they’re smarter than us a lot of the time and I love them.

Gordon: OK, word association time.
I love this game!
Gordon: As do I. Let’s start with Stephen.
Coach: Knowledgeable.
Gordon: Deb?
Coach: Vivacious.
Gordon: Brendan?
Coach: Failed leader.
Gordon: Sierra?
Coach: Immature.
Gordon: Deb?
Coach: You already said Deb.
Gordon: Oh wait, I did.  I’m the worst.
Coach: Truth Seeker! C’mon!
Gordon: I just really want to know how you feel about Deb. OK, JT?
Coach: Silky, southern, seductive.
Gordon: Jeff Probst?
Coach: The man. He has great intuition.
Gordon: Erinn?
Coach: Pontificating, prattling, I won’t say the last word, but it starts with a P.
Gordon: I didn’t ask for alliteration, but I appreciate it.

Gordon: So what’s next for you outside of the game?
There are a couple of coaching offers on the table. Whatever happens happens. I think that I’m going to have other things come at me in the realm of entertainment. I’m doing my symphony, I’m going to write a lot of music.

Gordon: Last night during Tribal Council, Jeff said it was time to vote and you interrupted him to recite a poem. Did they hit you with a taser afterwards?
Coach: I was doing my own thing out there and there was a poem that was going around in my head, and there was something that seized me. I’m glad that I did it, I thought it was very apropos.
Gordon: Will there be any poetry at the reunion?
Coach: There will be all kinds of weird stuff!

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