Not a lot of information is available at this time, but it’s been reported Guy Coffey (age 86-89) apparently took his own life early Saturday, January 8, 2011. According to people close to the situation, there was a suicide note and a gun by his body. “Mr. Coffey” as he was known to everyone was never a wrestler but worked behind the scenes for Memphis Wrestling for many decades. Prior to that, Mr. Coffey ran the old Ellis Auditorium from the late 1940s till he retired from there in the early 1980s (it later became the Cook Convention Center). After retiring from the Auditorium, Mr. Coffey worked full time for Memphis Wrestling behind the scenes.
Back in the 1980s, if you attended a Monday night wrestling card at the Mid-South Coliseum, you may have seen one of his “gimmick tables”. Mr. Coffey and his wife would sell wrestler’s photos, t-shirts, flags, etc, at these tables. To a lot of young wrestlers, the money they got from the photo sells decided whether they would get to eat some days.
I was lucky to spend some time interviewing Mr. Coffey this past spring and summer. Those are memories I’m thankful to have. The first time you met the man he made you feel like a friend. In my latest book, Memphis Wrestling History Presents 1982, I spend almost a full chapter talking about the importance of Mr. Coffey and the impact he had on Memphis Wrestling. In interviewing many wrestlers from the Memphis Wrestling promotion for that chapter, not a single wrestler had anything but very positive things to say about him. On the flip side of that, in the hours I talked to Mr. Coffey, he had nothing but positive things to say about all the wrestlers he had come across. He loved Memphis Wrestling and was very proud to be associated with it.
The last time I saw Mr Coffey was in the summer of 2010 at a TV taping of “Jerry Lawler’s Memphis Wrestling.” He said things were good and appeared to be in good condition.
Mark James is the founder of Memphis Wrestling History, author of Memphis Wrestling History Presents 1982, and a regular contributor for Memphisport. You can join his Memphis Wrestling History Facebook group here.