PRUETT COLUMN: West outdid himself with Phillips Roast

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, June 11, 2016

Former News sports editor Bob West pulled off an incredible event last weekend at the Bob Bowers Civic Center with the Port Arthur News Homecoming Roast of Wade Phillips.
The roast was an amazing night. It had 940 people packed into the center to see Phillips toasted more than roasted. The crowd also came to see stars like Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, former Dallas Cowboys coach and Port Arthur native Jimmy Johnson, former Houston Oilers center Carl Mauck, Houston Chronicle writer John McClain and Phillips’ son Wesley Phillips.
West outdid himself this year. He had Denver linebacker and former Cowboys great DeMarcus Ware lined up, but Ware had to pull out due to a back injury. Ware did send in a video tribute to Phillips as did Peyton and Cooper Manning, Jim Nantz, Gary Kubiak and Chris Berman.
What many people do not realize is the amount of work West puts into these roasts. This was his 13th roast to pull off and second in two years.
I witnessed West at work on the roast of Jamaal Charles in 2015 before he retired, and I can only imagine this year’s roast took even more of his time.
It was insane watching West work on the Charles roast. His phone never stopped ringing as the event drew near, and I don’t know how many times his first words to me when I walked in the office were “Gabe, I just got an email from…”
West pulled it off without a hitch and he did it again this year only the game was bigger, as in 6 feet and 5 inches bigger. The giant’s name was J.J. Watt.
Watt is a larger-than-life character. He is a megastar not only in the NFL but across the country.
Take into account Watt was in Port Arthur nine days ago and this past Wednesday co-hosted the CMT Awards with Erin Andrews at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
West was the guy who first decided to dangle the thought over Phillips’ head about Watt coming to town. Phillips was on the Texans’ coaching staff when Houston decided to draft the guy out of Wisconsin.
Phillips was a big help in Watt saying “yes” to Port Arthur, but give credit to West for dreaming big. The day The News announced Watt was going to be a part of the roast, our social media blew up. We had over 200 people reading the story at after 10 p.m. That is a big number at that time of night.
West has said he is done with roasting people. He is retired and playing countless rounds of golf and probably has a honey-do list a mile long written down by his wife Genie. (If not, Genie, you need to put that man to work.)
Bob, we applaud you for your hard work this year and on the 12 roasts before Phillips was given his due. The roasts date back to 1988 when he organized one for Johnson, who had just won the national championship with the Miami Hurricanes.
Thank you for a wonderful evening hundreds of people enjoyed and took memories from. Your dedication to putting together the best event possible is truly unmatched.

Gabriel Pruett: 721-2436. Twitter: @PaNewsGabe

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About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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