If everyone were judged based on percentage of lifespan spent in Bible Quizzing, Matt West would surely be the world champion. From being a six year old winning highest quizzer and mandating a rule change to being the coach sitting behind the most recent AACS champs, it is tough to think of anyone who has done more different things to help Bible Quiz grow. This site would not exist without Matt West. In fact, my guess is that this article will be posted slower, merely because he isn’t posting it. He makes it run with his nagging, convincing, and promoting. While I would love to promote the site more, here are the facts of Matt West’s quizzing career as best as I can piece them together.
At the age of six, Matt West began quizzing for his father. When he started quizzing, he was a quick study. In the old Olympic Summer, which used to boast about 30 elementary teams, Matt immediately made a name for himself. In his first grade year, he was the second highest individual quizzer for elementary. Later that same year, at the Winter Retreat, he led his “Junior High” team to the championship, including a victory over the Senior High champion Highland Park team led by Jeff LeMaster. After that year, the rules changed and no one who was younger than Junior High age could compete.
Therefore Matt was relegated to quizzing in the elementary division. He was the highest quizzer five years in a row, and he led his team to a national championship in each of those years. At the end of his elementary dominance, the opportunities became limited as Winter Retreat had reorganized. But none of this is what makes us know him. While he is the last in his family in our Hall of Fame, according to the members of that family, he is the most knowledgeable and skilled quizzer of them all.
In one of the first years that freshmen were allowed to quiz at AACS, Matt West was clearly the highest quizzer at FACCS. While his team lost on the final question to the team that eventually finished second at AACS, that close finish was the first but not the most memorable. His next year he led a team that many consider to be one of the all time greats. They won SCQANIT without a loss or middle win and through Wednesday and Thursday morning at AACS, were undefeated and averaging over 310 points per quiz. Then when the final two emerged on Thursday afternoon, they lost in their second disappointing defeat in two years in what I have heard dubbed “The Greatest Meltdown of All Time.”
While it has been said that every team other than the National Champion finishes their year on a disappointing note, I dare say that until Old Paths, no team had suffered two successive defeats that could rival that team. But unlike Old Paths, Matt and his mates from TMA rebounded with back-to-back SCQANIT/AACS tandem titles. While one other team has accomplished this once, no one has done it back-to-back since. While this may be the end of the story for most, for Matt West, it was only the beginning.
Most of his college career was spent out of state, but he did come back and coach a few teams at events. A quick example of his coaching skill was in the first ever Kickoff Classic. This OCP team had never finished higher than tenth at an FQA event. But with his coaching, they finished second, losing only to a team from out of state. He helped Jeff LeMaster and Paul West with ideas for the FQA and shortly thereafter took over leadership of the league. While clearly the original vision for the league was limited, Matt has added elementary, middle school, and college divisions. He added events in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, and West Virginia. He continues to hone his coaching skill by helping the champion of FACCS prepare for AACS. In the last five years, he has helped three different ministries finish in the top five at AACS. Only time will tell if he will receive any props for coaching this year’s AACS champion, but I believe that FBCCF clearly would have struggled without the help he gave them.
He has quizmastered at nearly every event and has become the chief stat guy at AACS. Looking to the future, he is still under 30, has been running a respected league for more than five years, and is willing to travel anywhere to make an event happen. He has been elected to the board of directors for the World Bible Quiz Association and was appointed by them to extend King James Bible Quiz throughout the land. It sure seems like this is someone whose best years are before him, and yet, he is already in the Hall of Fame.
Use God’s Light, Matt. You’re on the list.