June 16, 1944 - July 28, 2023 Port Arthur, TX
Bob West was born in Mexico, Missouri in 1944. He moved to Southeast Texas in 1965 to attend what was then Lamar Tech. He started a 49-year newspaper career at the Beaumont Enterprise in 1966 while attending Lamar, married Lamar cheerleader Genie Montie of Port Arthur in 1968, was hired at the Port Arthur News in 1971, and became sports editor in June of 1972.
West was known for his heavy emphasis on coverage of high school sports and for championing athletes from Southeast Texas who went on to play at collegiate and professional levels. He was twice named Texas Sports Writer of the Year by the Texas High School Coaches Association and twice was selected recipient of the presigeous Fred Hartman Excellence in Sportswriting Award. West built a bigger platform by branching out into sports talk radio, doing shows in Houston, Beaumont, and Port Arthur for over 30 years.
In addition, he helped pioneer high school football telecasts in Southeast Texas, and was analyst for 20 years of Port Arthur News Friday Night Experience telecasts that enhanced exposure for area high school players. West's fundraising efforts on behalf of the Babe Zaharias Foundation led to the implementation of an endowed $50,000 Babe Zaharias-Bob West scholarship for women's athletics at Lamar University.
His major civic project was 12 Port Arthur News Homecoming Roasts that raised over $700,000 for the Museum of the Gulf Coast. Sports honorees were Jimmy Johnson, Bum Phillips, Billy Tubbs, Tom Hicks, Joe Washington Jr., Jamaal Charles, and Wade Phillips. Other honorees included attorney Walter Umphrey, then Texas Governor Ann Richards, US Congressman Jack Brooks, Texas Senator Carl Parker, and Texas Secretary of State Jack Rains. Richards also participated five times as a roaster. Of West, Richards said, "Bob West can get most of us to do anything."
Among the many high profile celebrities West helped bring to Port Arthur for the roasts were former president Bill Clinton, comedian Don Rickles, Dr. Red Duke, NFL Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Earl Campbell, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and Franco Harris, NBA Hall of Famer Julius (Dr. J) Erving, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Jim Nantz of CBS Sports. The 1992 event, with Clinton as a roaster and Richards as the roastee, was televised worldwide on C-Span. Another of West's significant projects was the implementation of the unique Port Arthur News Bum Phillips Bowl trophy presented annually to the winner of the Mid-County Madness rivalry between Nederland and Port Neches-Groves. West also helped implement the Bum Phillips Award, presented annually by his son Wade Phillips to the best head coach in Southeast Texas.
West had three sons with his wife Genie - Brandon, Damon, and Grayson.