Paul West

Despite being the first (and so far, only) inductee who never quizzed, he is certainly worthy of the honor. When I wrote my article on best coaches, I listed him as #2 of all time. When one thinks of my home state, they undoubtedly must first think of Paul West. He began the whole thing. The legend says that when a group of kids from Pine Hills Christian Academy wanted to go to AACS to compete in some weird Bible Quizzing event, they asked the school board who wanted a free trip. Paul West volunteered, and thus, forever was changed the landscape of Bible Quiz and Florida.
That first year was nothing but a learning experience as to win in the state of Florida, there was no seat jumping, but rather answering the written questions Dr. Knapp submitted to the state head in a written format. After the first year, however, he was hooked. He watched a team from Colorado led by Mike DeVries win the AACS title and was amazed at what could happen. He got the same kids to all come back the next year and he cracked the top 10 that first year he was really involved.

For two more years he led that PHCA team and was in the top 4 each year. At the end of that period, however, there was a geographic split and PHCA had an offshoot on his side of town called The Master’s Academy. It took him only 4 years in this new school to win AACS and he built what many consider to be a dynasty. As a coach his highest moment was probably winning the greatest quiz ever (Valerie Wood’s article) and his low point has to be losing the greatest upset ever (1993 AACS finals). I think I can easily say that as a coach in each of the two most memorable quizzes, he has been intimately associated with good quizzes.

Paul West did so much more than just coach great Bible Quiz teams. He began an elementary quizzing program through Abb Thomas and from that program, FBCCF and Capital City both came. He went around the state helping various schools as the one he previously worked with was set. He worked with five different schools in the state of Florida and all five finished in the top five at AACS in a year he helped them–noone else can claim anything close to that. His most success was with The Master’s Academy. He may be linked with them in many of our minds, but I know my school, Hobe Sound, Orlando Christian Prep, Central Florida Christian, and Pine Hills Christian will never forget the impact that he made on them either!! I’ve heard that Faith (MI) and Capital City also each pay homage to him.

Today he has retired from BIble Quiz, but one thing he has done that only he and Craig Scott have done is establish a legacy. Andrew Scott and Matt West may never reach the status of their fathers, but they both work very hard to build programs. This legacy has led to Matt helping to start new teams at schools across the Southeast–Cornerstone (AL), Eagle’s Landing (GA), Citrus Park (FL), and Calvary (FL). When Paul West does make the occassional cameo at a Bible Quiz event, people are still in awe at his skill. Recently, Director Brant Callaway said, “The College event was great, but it might well have been a failure without Paul West.”

Paul had a way of making even the mundane matches incredibly fun and he could recruit 20 new quizzers by just showing up. Students wanted to follow him and there are few more worthy of such a following. I will let FQA director Matt West close this article. “Whenever I think of Bible Quiz, I think of my dad helping students realize lifelong benefits that doesn’t even seem like work when he’s running the whole thing. I know because I am one of those, and I hope that we can continue what he started in some small way.”

Truly a great bastion of representation from the Sunshine State. Use God’s Light, Paul. You’re on the List.

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