WWE announcer reveals the truth about leaving ESPN - 'I couldn't be happier'


Jonathan Coachman has had quite the career, going from the World Wrestling Entertainment to ESPN and back to WWE again.

Coachman, 42, has practically grown up on television. Starting in 1999 as an interviewer and part-time butt of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s insults, Coachman spent nearly 10 years with WWE before leaving in 2008.

He eventually moved to ESPN to be a host and “SportsCenter” anchor for nearly another decade before letting his contract expire in October. He has since returned to WWE to be an announcer for its Monday night “Raw” show.

Free of the shackles of ESPN’s interests and having the credentials of being more than just a WWE announcer, Coachman shed some light on his decision to leave the “Worldwide Leader” in an interview with Awful Announcing.

“Man, I couldn’t be happier [after leaving ESPN]. It was a conscious decision, and a lifestyle decision,” he said.

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One thing that Coachman opened up about was his latest gig announcing for World Long Drive Association events. In the process, Coachman revealed that the rigid focus of ESPN on basketball, football and baseball prevented him from following a sport that he’s a big fan of.

“I’m a big golf freak as it is, and the last, whatever, 10 years I spent at ESPN, I really wanted to get into golf and they just didn’t have any golf programming, and when I kind of decided what the next five to 10 years of my career was going to look like, I wanted golf to be a part of it,” Coachman said.

Frankly, Coachman walking from ESPN isn’t a massive surprise. He’s always been a solid announcer but never had viral “hot takes” or controversies follow him.

Do you like Jonathan Coachman's work?

While most people would applaud a sports announcer for not injecting his or her personal biases and opinions into an event, for ESPN that seemed to make Coachman expendable.

He never had the outlandish bluster of a Stephen A. Smith. He never had the smarmy condescension of Max Kellerman. He never called the president a “white supremacist” like Jemele Hill.

Really, nobody knows Coachman’s political leanings or personal beliefs. But that’s the point.

Working for the Golf Network and WWE, it’s still unlikely Coachman will be delving too deeply into politics. Neither entity puts any sort of emphasis on politicizing its events, unlike ESPN.

“The Worldwide Leader” has its work cut out for it. It’s never a good sign when the vast majority of the people ESPN let go through the course of a pair of 2017 layoffs are thriving elsewhere. Reporters such as Mark Stein, Chris Sheridan, Ed Werder have all ably landed on their feet after being let go.

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There is a lesson to be learned from ESPN’s foibles. People still care about and crave sports. Just look at ESPN’s former employees thriving elsewhere in the sports world. Fans are just sick of politics being ramrodded down their throats.

Based on the fact that people like Smith, Kellerman and Hill are still at ESPN while Coachman happily isn’t suggests ESPN is still learning that lesson.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
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