Former Knoxvillian Benjamin "Coach" Wade is reportedly one of the competitors on the upcoming "Survivor: South Pacific," which would be his third time participating in the popular CBS reality show.
Online fan sites have been circulating the rumor of Wade's participation, and on Tuesday afternoon, Andy Dehnart posted a story on Reality Blurred confirming he will return to the show. Dehnart, who interviewed "Survivor" host Jeff Probst, said taping of "South Pacific" was recently wrapped and the show is set to debut in September.
Wade, 39, is a graduate of West High School and the University of Tennessee. His first appearance on the show was as a contestant on "Survivor: Tocantins," which aired in 2009. He was portrayed as something of a loner who was generally disconnected from the strategy of the other players, some of whom he rubbed the wrong way because of his perceived bossiness. He ultimately finished in fifth place of the 16 players and was popular with viewers for his offbeat behavior and demeanor.
Wade was brought back the following year to compete in "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains," in which he was cast as a villain. He was portrayed as calmer and more aware of strategy in his second attempt, and he formed a tight bond with fellow villain Jerri Manthey (who, coincidentally, first appeared on the series in "Survivor: The Australian Outback," which was ultimately won by Knoxville native Tina Wesson). Despite his seemingly improved game play in "Heroes vs. Villains," Wade finished 12th out of the 20 players.
Earlier this year, the show returned two former competitors, Russell Hantz and "Boston" Rob Mariano, to compete against rookie contestants on "Survivor: Redemption Island." Mariano won the season.
Rumors have it that "Survivor" will again return two former players for "South Pacific," and it's largely believed that Ozzy Lusth will be the second veteran, joining Wade.
Wade now lives in California, where he is the conductor of the Susanville Symphony.
© 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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