Jonathan William Coachman (August 12, 1972), also known as "The Coach", is a former professional wrestling color commentator and authority figure. It should be noted that although he labels himself as ""The Coach"", he has never coached any sport at any level. He is also a former college basketball player, and football play-by-play announcer. He is best known for his work with WWE, where he spent nine years as a commentator, interviewer, and occasional wrestler.
He is currently the nationally syndicated afternoon drive host on ESPN Radio (Coach & Company), and serves as an anchor for SportsCenter on ESPN.
Before embarking on an announcing career in professional wrestling, Coachman was a highly scouted basketball prospect. After two state basketball championships at McPherson High School in McPherson, Kansas, Coachman moved across town to continue playing for McPherson College. While at McPherson, Coachman's interests included participating in theatre, serving as the sports editor for the school newspaper, and doing play-by-play and color commentary for the local football and basketball radio broadcasts.
In the mid-90s, Coachman did a brief stint as a server at Sirloin Stockade in McPherson, Kansas. Coachman was also a sports reporter/anchor at KAKE in Wichita, Kansas.
Coachman also starred in many instructional videos used for technical education classrooms of middle schools and high schools. One set of videos featured "Coach" instructing people on flight navigation and the basics of airplanes. He also had a "boyfriend-in-a-box" modeled after him during college. Coachman also worked for local Kansas City news station KMBC-TV, where he was a correspondent for Larry King Live's coverage of Owen Hart's death in May 1999.
Coachman's adopted father is a retired United Methodist minister. He is currently married and resides in Southington, Connecticut
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (1999–2008)
Coachman began his World Wrestling Federation career as an interviewer, commentator, and presenter. His first appearance was on the December 23, 1999 edition of SmackDown!, where he interviewed The Rock. Coachman was also involved in occasional segments with The Rock, in which The Rock attempted to humiliate Coachman in any form possible, whether it was forcing him to sing, dance, or smile for the camera. The Rock also accused Coachman of performing rather lewd activities with farm or wild animals.
The Coach made a heel turn against Shane McMahon on August 24, 2003 at SummerSlam. After this he would have an on-screen role as the "lackey" to then General Manager of Raw, Eric Bischoff. Coachman continued to work as a heel and later teamed up with his fellow WWE Heat announcer Al Snow in a storyline feud against the Raw announce team, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. This feud would even see the pair win the right to announce the main show from the Ross and Lawler at one point. Later, Coachman achieved a singles victory on pay-per-view at Backlash, in 2004 by defeating Tajiri (albeit with the assistance of Garrison Cade). Coachman would go on to host the 2004 and 2005 Raw Diva Searches. Later, Coach would gain his own column in the now defunct Raw Magazine ("Coach's Corner") and his own webcast on WWE.com ("CoachCast"). Coachman was officially added as the third member to the Raw broadcast team and signed a multi-year contract with WWE in 2005.
During October 2005, Coach was involved in an angle involving the McMahon Family publicly firing Jim Ross due to the actions of Ross's friend, Steve Austin. The firing of Ross gave Coach the position of lead announcer on Raw. The storyline would culminate in a match at Taboo Tuesday where Austin faced Coach in a match with both Austin's and Ross's jobs on the line. Though the match was originally scheduled to be Austin versus the Coach, Austin refused to participate because of issues he had with the storyline (the original story is said to have called for Austin to lose following a run-in by the returning Mark Henry). World Heavyweight Champion Batista was renamed the opponent to play up the SmackDown! vs. Raw storylines. On the October 31, 2005 edition of Raw, Batista came out and accepted the match only to be attacked by Coach's backup, the returning Goldust and Vader. At Taboo Tuesday, Batista faced off against Coach in a Street Fight. Vader and Goldust tried to interfere in the match, but Batista won. However, no mention of the Jim Ross stipulation was ever mentioned after the match.
Former ECW announcer Joey Styles soon replaced Coach in a move that became permanent despite Coach's on-air protestations that Styles' presence was temporary. Coach retained a prominent role on the Raw announcing team as the heel representative of a three-man booth with Styles, the play-by-play man, and Jerry "The King" Lawler, the babyface color commentator.
On the January 23, 2006 edition of Raw, Coach defeated Lawler to win the last Raw spot in the Royal Rumble match via interference from the debuting Spirit Squad. Coachman would enter seventh during the match only to be eliminated almost immediately by The Big Show.
During the April 24 edition of Raw, after Coachman hosted a Divas bikini contest, Viscera would come down to the ring and perform the Viscagra on Coachman. During the commercial break of that show, still in the ring, he quit in protest of his treatment on Raw. On the May 5 edition of Heat, broadcast partner Todd Grisham announced that Coachman had quit, saying, "We've got announcers quitting left and right. It was Coach two weeks ago, Joey Styles this past week." On the May 29 edition of Raw, it was revealed that Mr. McMahon had hired Jonathan Coachman under the new position of McMahon's Executive Assistant; to aid McMahon in the daily running of the Raw brand, and actually acted as the General Manager when the McMahons were absent. While Executive Assistant, Coachman, along with the McMahons, would feud with the reformed D-Generation X, and also have issues with John Cena. On June 18, 2007, Coachman was officially named Interim General Manager of Raw by the McMahon Family following the kayfabe death of Vince McMahon in a limo explosion.
On the August 6, 2007 edition of Raw, William Regal became the new General Manager on the Raw brand after winning an battle royal featuring other participants from the Raw roster. As a result, Coachman was removed from his position as Interim General Manager and became Regal's new assistant. However, following a vicious kayfabe assault by John Cena on Regal during the September 3 edition of Raw, Regal had to be temporarily relieved of his duties as General Manager at which point Coachman was once again named interim General Manager of Raw until Regal was fit to resume his role. On the October 1 edition of Raw, Regal returned as General Manager which resulted in Coachman being once again demoted to his prior rank.
On the December 3, 2007 edition of Raw, Coach was in a No DQ Handicap match with Carlito against Hornswoggle, with whom he had been having problems. However, Hornswoggle had paid the APA to protect him during the match. Coachman ended up being pinned by Hornswoggle after a Clothesline From Hell and a Tadpole Splash.
A rivalry ensued, and during it, another Hornswoggle trap style event occurred. One night Coachman chased Hornswoggle all over the backstage area, and it eventually moved to the arena, where Hornswoggle performed his infamous "hide under the ring" trick to get away. Coachman moved to the other side of the ring and pulled out a Detonator, much to the surprise of Jim Ross. He attempted to detonate the detonator twice, but nothing happened. He then moved under the ring to check the explosives, and Hornswoggle came out from under the ring, and deteonated successfully, cause Smoke to appear from under the ring, and the cameras to make TV screens change color, from gray to rainbow, and according to JR, the building shook. Coachman was charred and unable to move.
Friday Night SmackDown!
Coachman became Michael Cole's new SmackDown! broadcast partner on January 4, 2008 (after John "Bradshaw" Layfield had left the position to return to the ring). He was replaced by Mick Foley, however, at Backlash on April 27.
In 2008, Coachman left World Wrestling Entertainment to begin a career with ESPN. In April 2009, Coachman was involved in a video with John Cena meeting up since his departure from the WWE. Cena made fun of Coach stating he is an "intern" on SportsCenter (this was when Coachman told Cena he now hosts SportsCenter). After agreeing to catch up with each other, Cena locked Coach out of the ESPN building with Coachman stating, "I know this was funny that last 9 years or so...but come on, man." In January 2010, The Rock was a special guest on SportsCenter, promoting his new movie Tooth Fairy. The Coach was once again involved in a skit with The Rock, where he was mocked by him, and Coach invited him to be interviewed on the station.
Coachman and his wife Amy have two children, a daughter, Kayana, and a son, JJ. Amy is a pharmaceutical Representative for a company out of Ohio. Amy was a former college athlete, turned personal trainer.
In addition to his WWE assignments, Coachman called various sports events on College Sports Television, a cable and satellite network owned by CBS. He also called college basketball for CN8. In addition, Coachman served as the part-time play-by-play announcer for the WNBA's New York Liberty on the MSG Network, as well as the studio host for New York Knicks games. He also hosted the weekly MSG program MSG, NY.
In 2009, Coachman signed with ESPN as anchor of SportsCenter. In 2012, Coachman became the host of Coach & Company, a nationally syndicated radio program that airs on ESPN Radio in afternoon drive (Eastern Standard Time).
Coachman also lends his voice talents to the video game Black College Football Xperience: The Doug Williams Edition.
- Wrestlers managed
- "What You Gonna Do" by Victor Reid (September 2003–April 2006)
- "Hard Hittin" by Homebwoi (WWE Wreckless Intent) (June 2006–April 2008)