, Port Arthur, Texas


November 10, 2012

West column: Royal, Bum crossed paths early, often in coaching, life



    Bum Phillips will never forget the first time he crossed paths with Darrell Royal. Bum was in his first season as a Bear Bryant assistant at Texas A&M in 1957 and Royal was in his first year as head coach at Texas. An 8-1, No. 4 ranked Aggie team lost to the 6-3-1 Longhorns 9-7 in College Station. “They shouldn’t have beaten us, but they did and a lot of credit for that goes to Darrell,” said Bum, when contacted after Royal’s death. “He was a great coach and a better person. Of all the coaches I’ve known, he’d be in the top two, both as a coach and a human being. What I liked about him was that he was as good a friend to people who didn’t have much as he was to folks who were wealthy.” Some 20 years after that first on-field meeting, Royal made Phillips totally comfortable about taking Earl Campbell for the Houston Oilers with the No. 1 pick in the 1978 NFL draft. “I could see Earl was a great player,” Bum said.  “What I needed to find out was what kind of kid he was and how he’d fit with our team. I sent Wade to Austin to visit with him, but what Darrell told me sealed the deal. His word was as good as gold.” Phillips, who recently turned 89, ended our conversation with what was an interview first for me. “Thank you for calling to ask about Darrell,” he said.  “I was hoping somebody would. I sure wanted to talk to somebody about him.”

    Thank God, Jimmy Johnson finally decided to blow the whistle on Jerry Jones’ attempts at revisionist history on who made the personnel decisions that resulted in the Cowboys winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993. After hearing Jones tell NBC’s Bob Costas Sunday night that he ran the Cowboys football operation from the day he bought the team in 1989, Jimmy apparently couldn’t bite his tongue any longer. He called out Jones on Dan Patrick’s NBCSN national talk show and in remarks to the Dallas Morning News. Dale Hansen of WFAA TV in Dallas, who was the emcee of the Port Arthur News Homecoming Roast of Johnson in 1992, probably summed the latest Jones fiasco best by teeing off him in an editorial that concluded with this line. “There is a village looking for an idiot and I know where he is.” . . . Considerable irony, by the way, surrounded the timing of Jimmy at long last getting a gut full of Jethro. Things broke loose on the day the NFL Network premiered the “It’s a Football Life” documentary on one of Port Arthur’s favorite sons. Taking the high road toward the Cowboys owner, in remarks that were taped well ahead of the program’s airing, Jimmy said that Jones has taken more grief for their parting of the ways than he should have. Not many who know what was going on behind the scenes would agree with that, but Jimmy for years has tried to make it seem that he doesn’t carry any lingering animosity over the breakup. It’s nice to see the charade is over, even though this will wipe out any remote possibility of induction into the Cowboys Ring of Honor. But it wasn’t going to happen anyway.

    Back in July, Larry Bodin wrote a touching story for the Port Arthur News about Nederland’s Kirby Hanley having to leave Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski’s summer camp because of the worsening condition of his cancer-stricken father, Rory Hanley, who passed away in early July. Kirby’s mother, Shawn, e-mailed Krzyzewski about why Kirby had to leave, told him what a big fan her husband was and how his dream had been to meet him and attend a Duke game. Class act that he is, Krzyzewski invited Kirby and his mother to attend a Blue Devils game of their choice. With the assistance of Beaumont attorney Walter Umphrey, who is providing his private jet for the trip, the Hanley clan — Shawn, Kirby, Kirby’s sister Kaitlin and cousin Wade Witt — will be at Cameron Indoor Stadium next Sunday as Krzyzewski’s guest to watch Duke play Florida Gulf Coast . . . PN-G ex Lew Ford, who authored one of the most remarkable sports stories of this or any other year by playing his way back to the major leagues after a five-year absence, looked like he might be on the outside looking in again, after the Baltimore Orioles released him following the AL playoffs. On Friday, however, Baltimore signed the 35-year-old Ford to a minor league contract and extended an all-important invitation to attend spring training with the Orioles.  Baltimore, obviously, wants to go younger, but it saw enough of Ford to know he can be pretty solid insurance  . . . If there is ever a golf championship for owners of professional sports teams, the Astros Jim Crane figures to hoist the championship trophy. Crane carries a 1.7 handicap index, has twice shot rounds of 66 at famed St. Andrews, owns a small piece of Pebble Beach and is sole owner of one of America’s most upscale courses — Floridian National in West Palm Beach.

    Don’t known that I’ve ever seen a basketball coach facing a more challenging situation than Pat Knight has in his second season at Lamar. With eight new players on the roster, with 90 percent of his scoring from last year’s SLC Tournament champions gone and with a schedule that calls for 11 consecutive road games to open the season, including visits to Kansas State, Alabama, Purdue and Baylor, the Cardinals figure to take some serious lumps while Knight tries to get his team ready for Southland Conference play. Knight, incidentally, says he seldom goes anywhere with somebody recognizing him from last season’s infamous post-game press conference. “People come up to me at hotels, restaurants, bars and in airports,” he said. “It’s not like ESPN is ever going to stop showing it. Maybe I can be like Jim Mora and get a Coors Light commercial off a press conference rant after I retire.” . . . PN-G oldtimers are certain to remember the name Norvel Dorsey. Dorsey, who passed away Thursday at age 74, was the key man in one of the most legendary plays in the Indians illustrious football history. With PN-G’s star running backs Gordon LeBoeuf and Bobby LaBorde being throttled by Alice’s defense in the 1955 state semifinals, Dorsey, a linebacker, was inserted at offensive guard by head coach Lewis Ford, took a “camouflaged handoff” from QB Bobby Falgout and scored on 59-yard run with 1:14 left in the game for a 14-7 win.  The next week PN-G defeated Garland 20-14 to win the state championship.

    The Cotton Bowl is drooling over the possibility of being able to put together a Texas-Texas A&M matchup for its Jan. 4 game at JerryWorld. Since its format calls for a Big 12 team to face an SEC team, and since it’s unlikely either school could land in a BCS bowl, you would think there’s a reasonable chance of an Aggie-Longhorn clash happening. A&M, without question, would love a shot at UT, and would be salivating at what Johnny Manziel could do to the Texas defense. But Deloss Dodds and company, who have made it clear they want no part of playing the Aggies, don’t figure to be all that enthused about a game that could prove embarrassing ? ? ? . . . Although rumors are flying fast and furious that Sean Payton may wind up replacing Jason Garrett as Dallas’ head coach, Las Vegas oddsmaker R.J. Bell of says it’s a long shot. Bell is giving it only a 15 percent chance that Payton will replace Garrett. He’s got it 58 percent that he’ll return to the Saints, 9 percent that he’ll land with the Philadelphia Eagles and 18 percent he’ll be with somebody other than the Saints, Cowboys or Eagles . . . Tonight’s game against the Bears is hardly a must win for the Texans, but it is somewhat of a statement game. After the way it was taken apart by Green Bay, there are doubters about how good Houston really is. The Texans could erase most doubts by beating a very good Chicago team in Solider Field. Here’s hoping Matt Schaub and the Texans offense is up to the challenge.

    Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at

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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

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    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

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    First things first, give Clint Landry and the rest of the officials credit for making the Southwest Regional Babe Ruth tournament possible this weekend at Nederland High School.

    July 19, 2014

  • Up the odds for solid bank fishing

    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

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  • Derek Williams, Summer Money League light up the lanes at Max Bowl

    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

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  • West column: Pacers hiring Pat Knight didn't help Lamar

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  • Babe Ruth.jpg Mid County Babe Ruth set to host Southwest Regional

    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • West golf notepad: Eleven-year-old Henry scores ace in YMBL tourney

    July 15, 2014

From the Fieldhouse blog