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'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains:' Coach dishes on his feather and bromance with Boston Rob

April 9, 2010 |  6:09 pm

CoachFirst Boston Rob, then Coach? Man, all of "Survivor's" most interesting characters are getting wiped out pretty early this season. We were especially sad to see Coach go last night -- he always keeps us amused each week with his quirky Tai Chi practices, outlandish stories and, of course, his questionably stylish feather hairpiece.

In our discussion with Coach on Friday, he -- not surprisingly -- used the words "truth" and "honor" numerous times and even admitted to stealing that lovely hair accessory. Here's what he had to say:

First off: What was that feather you continually wore to tribal council?

It is a symbol of war, and it was me paying homage to my American Indian ancestry.

Did you bring that from home?

No, I stole it off of one of the torches.

On your first season in Tocantins, you were known as the fearless Dragon Slayer. This season, you got really emotional. How did you change?

I was the guy you didn’t see in Tocantins, I let someone else come out. I did have a different mentality. I wanted to be the guy that was the biggest character ever in Tocantins, and it humbled me, because I looked out there and saw the man I thought I was, not the man I had become and not the man I wanted to be 10 years from now. I really wanted to come into this season still as the Dragon Slayer, still the poetic one in the wilderness, but also with a softer side, a more humble side, a more chivalrous side.

Let’s talk about the moment when you broke down and cried in front of Tyson after tribal council. What was going on?

It was a tough time. In that instant, everything from me losing my job last year, to being estranged with my parents, to my integrity being dragged through the mud on all of the blogs that talk about “Survivor.” And all of a sudden I was down there being more humble and in a blink of an eye, I thought, “You know, Jeff’s smirking at me, Sandra’s laughing at me” and it really hit me. I really started grieving for myself, thinking, “Wow, no matter what I do, I’m still going to be portrayed as the villain and I won’t find redemption.” So it was a tough moment for me, but as the phoenix rises out of the ashes…

What about what Tyson said to you in that moment? He was advising you to change and not be yourself by not wearing a feather in your hair, not telling your crazy stories, not doing Tai Chi…

It was kind of like Tyson was saying “change, and be a different person.” But Tyson knows me really well, he’s come out to hear my symphonies, so he’s really a good guy. He means things from his heart, and he actually prefaced that with, “Dude, I don’t know if you’re going to like this or not, but do you want me to tell you the truth?” So he told me, “Look, I understand and believe your stories, but a lot of these other people don’t know who you are.” So that slapped me out of my pity party. I was starting to succumb to peer pressure, and I’d never done that in my whole life.

Why’d you have such a man crush on Boston Rob?

The only person I was in awe of was Boston Rob, and that was a cute moment and bromance. He’s a great leader. He is a great challenger — a great warrior in the challenges. He’s got a magnetic personality, and I felt like here was somebody finally that I could play the game with — as iron sharpens iron.

When Rob went home, you voted for Courtney instead of Russell. Wasn’t that kind of a cop-out?

I was in a really tough position. I didn’t want to draw rocks in case they tied. If Jerri hadn’t flopped, Russell was going home. I really thought that if I called him out at tribal in front of everyone — like “Rob, Russell, put your egos aside. You’re like two freight trains going to collide” — that might change things. I was hoping above hope that people would see the light and vote out Courtney.

CoachWade What was your opinion of Russell on the island, and how much has it changed while watching the show?

When I first talked to Russell, we both told each other we wanted to play the game as Christian men. I really hoped against hope that he could be trustworthy, although there was something about him that I couldn’t trust. Watching him on Samoa burn socks and throw away water — that really angered me. I thought that was below the belt. But as I watch him, my respect for him grows. Even though he stands for everything that I’m against in terms of truth, honesty and loyalty, I really respect how he plays the game. He’s swayed a lot of people his way, so I’m pretty impressed with his power.

Speaking of truth and loyalty, were you angry you were cast as a villain?

I knew that I was going to be a villian because of the public outcry, but I still thought, “Gee, I wish that I was over there on the hero side.” But nothing ever happens in life the easy way.

Are you in love with Jerri? Are you dating?

I’m looking forward to seeing her at the finale.

Okay then. Finally, is that really you on Twitter?

No, but it’s pretty good, isn’t it?

-- Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)

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Photos: Benjamin "Coach" Wade was voted on this week on "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains." Credit: CBS.

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