Bob West going into museum hall
From Missouri to Southeast Texas and now to the Museum of the Gulf Coast,
Bob West’s legacy in the local sports scene continues to grow.
West is set for induction into the museum’s Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 27 at 2 p.m.
“I am humbled, honored and elated to have been deemed worthy of inclusion into a museum with so many awesome talents and legendary figures from the Gulf Coast,” the former Port Arthur News sports editor said. “From the day Sam Monroe made me aware of his vision for the museum, and from the first time I viewed the exhibits, it is a place that has never ceased to enthrall me.”
West was born in Mexico, Missouri, and grew up in Centralia, Missouri. He moved to Southeast Texas in 1965 to attend Lamar Tech where he met his eventual wife, Genie Montie.
West worked in the newspaper business for 49 years, starting at the Beaumont Enterprise in 1966. He came to The News in 1971 and a year later was named as sports editor. He held that title until April 2015 when he announced his retirement.
The Texas High School Coaches’ Association named West the Texas Sports Writer of the Year twice in his career, and he also won the Fred Hartman Excellence in Sportswriting award twice.
Among the top accomplishments of his career were the 12 Port Arthur News Homecoming Roasts that raised more than $700,000 for the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
Sports honorees were Jimmy Johnson, Bum Phillips, Billy Tubbs, Tom Hicks, Joe Washington Jr. and Jamaal Charles. Other honorees included attorney Walter Umphrey, then-Texas Gov. Ann Richards, United States congressman Jack Brooks, Texas senator Carl Parker and Texas Secretary of State Jack Rains.
West is also proud of his fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Babe Zaharias Foundation. Those efforts were recognized in 2010 with an endowed $50,000 Babe
Didrikson Zaharias-Bob West scholarship for women’s athletics at Lamar University.
Monroe, the president of the Port Arthur Historical Society, said without West setting up the roast, there might not be a Museum of the Gulf Coast.
“Bob brought local and regional attention to this area,” Monroe said. “He
has promoted this area on a national scale. Bob had such a personal interest in his job. He was not native to Texas but he adopted us and we adopted him, too.”
Before he left The News, West made his final project the Port Arthur News Bum Phillips Bowl trophy that is presented to the yearly winner of the Mid-County Madness rivalry between Port Neches-Groves and Nederland.
“I have long felt a special kinship to the museum because of the financial contributions we were able to make to it through 12 Port Arthur News Homecoming Roasts,” West added. “I also took great satisfaction every December when we were able to expose the top area high school players to the museum by taking our Port Arthur News Super Team photo there.
“Now, when players come in for future Super Team photos, they will be able to see the display on someone who was all in for promoting Southeast Texas and its athletes. That’s beyond cool.”
West and his wife, Genie, have three sons, Brandon, Damon and Grayson.
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