By Mike Mooneyham
March 9, 2007
Allen Coage, who parlayed success as an Olympic bronze medalist in judo into a celebrated career in pro wrestling as Bad News Allen, died of a heart attack Tuesday in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, at the age of 63.
The 6-2, 250-pounder began his wrestling career in 1977 working for New Japan Pro Wrestling and gained acclaim as one of the top heels for Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling promotion in Canada in the early ’80s.
He is probably best known for his run in the World Wrestling Federation the late 1980s as Bad News Brown and his feuds with Bret Hart, Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan.“Bad News Allen was one of those four or five wrestlers who I considered to be the hardest men in wrestling,” The Dynamite Kid (Tom Billington) wrote in his autobiography. “He was definitely bad news. Don’t get me wrong, he was a good friend, but once he got you in the ring, it was as if he didn’t know you. I’ve had a lot of hard matches in my career, most of them in Japan, because that’s how they like their wrestling, but the matches I had with Bad News were something else.”
The fifth-degree black belt became the second U.S. athlete and the first African-American to win an Olympic medal in the sport of judo when he earned a bronze at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. He was a six-time National Champion and two-time Pan American Games Champion.
Coage, who had undergone hip replacement surgery several weeks ago, had worked as a security guard at a mall in recent years.