‘In The Black’ Spotlight: Jonathan Coachman

By Korbid Thompson
Updated: November 4, 2007

NEW YORK — In the madcap world that is World Wrestling Entertainment, African-Americans have had a slight rise to prominence since the inception of guys like Bearcat Wright, Thunderbolt Patterson, Bobo Brazil, and so on.

However, Black members of the broadcast booth over the years have been few and far between. While Stevie Ray put on the headphones for WCW during its heyday, and Ernie “The Cat” Ladd is the most recognized broadacster I can think of, the wrestling world has since established one of the most legit guys to perform outside the ring as a commentator, and wearing other hats — his name is Jonathan Coachman.

He is a native of Kansas City, with an extensive and diverse background, not only in pro wrestling, but starting in his college days, where he attended McPherson College in the early 1990’s to study theater.

It was at McPherson where “The Coach” would get his start into the sports world as a football and basketball play-by-play announcer and color commentator.

During his collegiate time, Coachman was also a basketball prospect, winning numerous awards, along with shattering school records, such as career scoring, rebounding, and assists.

Both his basketball and broadcasting acumen would prove to come in handy, when Jonathan stepped into the World Wrestling Federation in 2000. He even made his debut as a backstage interviewer at one of the company’s top pay-per-view events, the Royal Rumble.

From there, Coach has made a progressive ride, which has included stops along the way as a lead play-by-play guy for both Sunday Night Heat and Monday Night Raw, interim general manager of Raw (on two occasions), and being the “executive assistant” to Vince McMahon — not to mention some in-ring performances.

These appearances on WWE television have also propelled Coachman to other endeavors, such as announcing for College Sports Television, making radio and public appearances around the country, and also tackling the Big Apple of New York as the anchor of MSG, NY, the sports news staple of the Madison Square Garden television network.

From humble beginnings in Kansas City, to the bright lights of New York, whether Jonathan Coachman is in or out of the wrestling area, unlike the debated validity of the sport he is in full-time, “The Coach” makes all of us African American sportscasters for real.