RIP Mr. Coffey: Memphis Wrestling’s Guy Coffey passes away

Guy Coffey & Lance Russell

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.


  1. Teresa Coffey says:

    I am Mr. Coffey’s granddaughter in law. I would like to say that if there was a suicide note I have not heard anything about it. I do not believe there was a note because I do not believe this was a planned thing. No matter how he passed away it is so sad that he spent the majority of his life being used by bums. Makes me sick but now I know he is rejoicing in Heaven. Praise God ~ Mr. Coffey can FINALLY have peace in his life!!!!

  2. Mr. Coffey, thank you for the life and energy you placed in Memphis Wrestling. I’ll always remember you from seeing you at the matches on Monday night at the Coliseum and on TV5.

    I miss Memphis Wrestling. So many times, I’d be at the Coliseum and see them turn away 2500+. The thrill of seeing so many of these stars and icons…the Stomper, Rocky Johnson, and of course…the King and Bill Dundee.

    You were part of that Mr. Coffey. Again, thank you…and Rest In Peace!

  3. RIP-Pops I am Mr.Coffey s grandson. I was closer to my grandfather than anyone else at the time of his death. The way my grandpa died was the was the hardest thing i ever had to deal with.(including a very lengthy prison sentence when i was much younger.He was the father to me that i never had. Not a day goes by that i don’t think of him. My grandfather was the most respected and kind man i have ever met. Not just to me but to many. He was a legend in this town. But more important he was a legend to me in my heart and always will be. I love you paw paw and you will never be forgotton.NEVER Ps. If i could ever choose to be like one man Pops it would be like you. I miss you to grandma. I love you both more than fetal little words could ever express………


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