In perhaps what could be called karma for not helping save his alliance member Rob Mariano during the last elimination, Benjamin ‘Coach” Wade, 38, ended up being the next victim of Russell (all thanks to Sandra), when he was voted out during the last episode of Survivor.
In a new interview with PEOPLE, the first jury member discusses his surprise in what he calls a complete “blindside.” He also talks about Rob’s elimination (Coach takes zero blame for Rob going home by the way), his disdain for Russell and his feelings on Jerri today.
Excerpts from Coach’s interview below -
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.
The Villains started out so strong. What went wrong?
Tyson was that bridge between the younger and older generations, the honorable people like myself and dishonorable people like Russell and the major egomaniacs and the sweet and humble players. When he left, it knocked us down.
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 people, 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.
TELL US – WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON COACH GOING HOME? AND ON THE LAST EPISODE OF SURVIVOR?