Where Are They Now?: Jonathan Coachman

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March 26, 2014

Jonathan Coachman attacks Shane McMahon at SummerSlam 2003

Coach covered WWE on several more occasions during his time at KMBC, while covering the Kansas City Chiefs on a full-time basis. He built up a great rapport with WWE staff and earned a tryout to become a WWE announcer in 1999. He was offered a job almost immediately, but still had two years left on his contract with KMBC.

“They said, ‘Absolutely not. You can’t do both,’” Coach said. “I didn’t understand why. But WWE was blowing up. It was getting so big they basically said they were willing to do things to get me out of my contract [with KMBC.] Like Ted DiBiase said, ‘Everybody’s got a price.’”

WWE helped KMBC purchase a helicopter to get Coach out of his contract after the football season. In the meantime, he traveled to WWE’s television tapings every week and shadowed his fellow announcers, like Michael Cole and Jim Ross, to learn how things worked.

“I had four months to see things, to be on the road, to watch, to learn,” Coachman told WWE.com. “By the time January 2000 rolled around, I thought I was ready.”

Coachman was thrown right into the deep end for his first interview. The newbie was given the task of going one-on-one with The Great One — The Rock. Understandably, The Coach was a little nervous about getting up close and personal with The Brahma Bull.

“At that point, I knew him, but he was still very intimidating,” he said. “But I’ll never forget how kind and giving he was. He said, ‘Listen, I really want them to remember your name.’”  

Jonathan Coachman battles Jerry "The King" LawlerDuring the interview, The Rock asked the new announcer his name. Knowing the fate of most people who had that question posed to them by The People’s Champion, Coachman nervously said, “My name’s Jonathan Coachman, but they call me ‘Coach’ for short.”

Watch The Rock and The Coach have a little fun

“He goes, ‘The Coach of what? A little girls’ softball team?’” the announcer recalled. “He said The Coach about ten times. The crowd was eating it up because he was making fun of me, but at the end of the night, I walked out of the building, and all the fans waiting were screaming, ‘Coach!’ It was because of him that it stuck from the beginning.”

Coachman continued as a backstage reporter and announcer for several years, until 2003, when WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon presented him with a unique opportunity.

“He came up to me and said, ‘We need to get you in the ring, and I think we can really make people hate you,’” Coachman remembered.

At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, the former college athlete could convincingly make the transition to an in-ring performer. He joined the dark side at SummerSlam 2003, smacking Shane McMahon with a steel chair during The Boy Wonder’s bout with Eric Bischoff. The Coach wasn’t just putting in work on television. Coachman was dedicated to becoming proficient in the ring and went to great lengths to do so, working with trainers like Tom Prichard and Superstars like Christian and The Hurricane.

Watch Coach help Eric Bischoff at SummerSlam on WWE Network

“I was in the ring every day,” he said. “I would do Live Events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There were a lot of guys who were willing to help me and teach me. It’s still, to this day, the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.”

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