Benjamin Wade fired as college soccer coach

Benjamin Wade, who’s known as Coach on Survivor Tocantins, has been fired as the head women’s soccer coach at the Missouri university where he worked because administrators say he disappeared to be on the show. In Brazil, he told me that his team thought he was leaving to have cancer tests for two months.

Southwest Baptist University’s athletic director, Brent Good, told the News-Leader that Ben “said he was going to be gone for a week. And the week went beyond that, which went beyond that, which went beyond that. … Coach Wade’s a good coach. I think the choice he made to do what he did was not done in the right way. With that, there’s a consequence with it. Unfortunately, that consequence is that his contract is not renewed, and he’s no longer here.”

Benjamin told the paper, “The administration felt like ‘Survivor’ was me going to Hollywood. I loved my time at SBU. Obviously, now I’m off to pursue adventures in Hollywood. … This has opened up a whole new world to me. I loved being myself on camera. There’s going to be a lot of interest from the show in who I was and what I did. I’m definitely excited about that.”

In a follow-up story, Ben told the News-Leader’s Matt Baker that how he came across on the show had nothing to do with his firing. “I’m going to be made out to be a hero. It was just the timing of me going out there and all that, not the way I was perceived.”

During our conversation in Brazil, Ben told me that he had not revealed where he was going. Instead, he lied to his soccer team by telling them he was getting extensive tests for cancer–tests that would last two months. “I haven’t let the cat out of the bag. And I could and maybe should with my girls who think that I’m in a hospital somewhere dying, essentially,” he said. “I had some tests done on what they thought was a brain tumor, last year, but it wasn’t, but I did, so I told them I was going back in for testing. I said I’m going to have a lot of testing and evaluations; that was when I flew out there the first time, to L.A. So this time I said I’ve got to go back out, get some testing done, and be away for two months.”

Ben also told me that the “team is in shambles right now” because he left them without his presence. He also said, “I am phenomenal at manipulating people. … I manipulate my assistant coaches. My highest-paid assistant coach right now is getting $5,000 a year. I have a staff of six. It’s the biggest coaching staff in the NCAA. Nobody has six coaches. I have these girls come and pay $20,000 a year to come and play for my school and not give them a dime of scholarship, there’s others that I do. I’m awesome at manipulating.”

SBU soccer coach fired and More on “Survivor” coach firing [News-Leader]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.