Survivor‘s Coach: ‘It Was a Total Blindside’
Despite being one of the only remaining Villains who could hold his own at challenges, Benjamin “Coach” Wade, 38, was kicked off the tribe after Sandra worked her manipulation magic. The Dragonslayer of Susanville, Calif., and first jury member, spoke with PEOPLE about his game the second time around, blindsides and if Jerri is still in the running for the position of Mrs. Coach. -- Carrie Bell
Did you have any inkling that you were in danger?It was a total blindside. From the first frog-marching with Colby to the last mud-diving with Rupert, my performance was consistent. Add the fact that Courtney rolled her ankle and limped off the last immunity, the fact that the tribe was starving and the morale was so low, I assumed they wouldn’t make such a preposterous choice.
Do you feel your m.o. changed the second time you played?Yes. The first time, I wanted to be polarizing and become one of the biggest characters to ever play. It cost me my reputation, my job and the support of my family. It was tough on me. So the second time, I wanted redemption. In the delusional psychedelic world that everyone says I live in, I thought they put redemption on the show flag just for me. I wanted be a warrior in challenges, be more humble, be nicer to the ladies and not just talk the talk of taking the strongest to the end but to be one of the strongest.
The Villains started out so strong. What went wrong?Tyson was that bridge between the younger and older generations, the honorable like myself and dishonorable like Russell and the major egomaniacs and the sweet and humble players. When he left, it knocked us down.
Why vote out three strong physical players before the merge? I tried with all my might to make realize that we needed to keep the strongest players if we wanted to keep our numbers. That’s how I prefer to play. I like the competition and the survival of the fittest concept. That’s why I wanted to play with Boston Rob so much because he is a legend of this sport. But most of the left on both sides play with very little honor.
Sandra seemed to play into Russell's ego.Courtney and Sandra knew they were going home if they didn’t do something and they even seemed surprised at the turn of events. But if you throw enough mud on the wall, something will probably stick. But there is no doubt that Russell is a ferocious player. There’s a bit of bully syndrome going on. He does not play with strong players. He picks , and it’s usually the women, that he can dominate and manipulate. And when someone disagrees with him like Danielle, he refuses to f-ing talk to them. It will become an even stupider move if they never merge.
There is some amount of blame that can be placed on you because you didn’t pick a side in the Russell versus Rob battle. If there is one person to blame for Rob going home beside himself and Russell, it’s Jerri. Everybody blamed me, but how did I betray him? Jerri was the one who said she wouldn’t vote for Russell and ripped my guts by selling Rob down the river yet she got a hug and I got called a 'little man.' Russell and Rob would not have made fire so the rest of us would have drawn rocks and I would have had a one-in-six chance of going home. I also tried for three days to get those two on the same page. I said, “Let’s talk. I will mediate. The three of us need to get on the same page or we will just keep losing.” Rob shot himself in the foot because he refused to meet. It was an impossible situation for me to thrust into and for me to bear the brunt of it is just another unjust thing against the Dragonslayer. It is my lot in life.
Speaking of Jerri, could she still be the future Mrs. Coach despite her betrayal? Or were the sparks all editing?Mrs. Coach. That’s a good one. Jerri is one of a kind, awesome. She disappointed me again and again out there but what happens in the game stays in the game because there was definitely some romantic interest. We cooled it off because we knew if we continued to be together, we’d become a big target. We’re not allowed to see each other before the finale, but I can’t wait to see her there and we will see what happens after that.
Tyson’s already down with our suggestion that you two apply for The Amazing Race. You? He told me about that after you guys talked. I love that idea. We’d make an unstoppable team. I will even break down and cry in Tyson’s arms again if that’s what they need.
That was a beautiful moment.It showed why I have always been attracted to him. He’s a caring guy behind that tough, sarcastic exterior. I would be honored to play another game with him.