By Chad Cooper
West Brook is getting a Hall of Fame basketball coach. July 7, Beaumont ISD announced that Andre Boutte would be the new boys head basketball coach replacing Sam Simon, who stepped down after the season.
“I prayed about the situation,” said Boutte, who is 52. “It’s unique; it gives me a challenge at this point in my career.”
In 21 seasons as a head boys basketball coach, Boutte has won three state titles — two with Port Arthur Lincoln (1991, 1995) and one at Beaumont Ozen (2001), dozens of district championships and has compiled a record of 562-118 (.826). Of those 21 seasons, his teams have never missed the playoffs. And for his resume, his was inducted into the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in May.
Boutte has been the athletic director at Port Arthur Memorial since 2009, but the school district decided to eliminate the position at the end of the school year.
“I never stopped loving to coach, it was never out of my system,” he said. “When I took the Memorial job, I made a career choice that would benefit me in the long run.”
Despite graduating from Beaumont Hebert and winning two titles as a player under Coach Fred Williams in 1980-81, he will jet across town to the West End.
“In the mid 50s, my grandfather moved to the West End of Beaumont when my mother was 9,” said Boutte.
His grandfather took his mother at the age of 9, and moved to the West End of Beaumont before integration in the mid 50s. As a result, Boutte went to school at Sallie Curtis Elementary and Marshall Middle School, so there is a little West Brook Bruin in him.
“At one point, West Brook was one of the top basketball programs,” said Boutte. “My goal and desire is to return West Brook basketball to that level. It’s not a quick fix situation and it’s going to require a lot of work. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that I can get the job done.”
As a head coach in Kountze and Port Arthur Lincoln, Boutte had to continue the legacies of the two programs. At Ozen, he had to build and maintain one of his own.
Now, he faces a rebuilding job. The Bruins won seven games last year and will move into 22-6A for basketball to compete with Deer Park, La Porte and five Pasadena schools including Pasadena High, Dobie, Memorial, Rayburn and South Houston.
“The expectations are high at West Brook,” he said. “Not just in athletics, but every program.”
If anyone can resurrect a basketball program, it’s Boutte, a coach who in 21 years has never had a losing season.
“When you coach for a long time and you are successful, it has an impact on the lives of kids,” he said. “Everyone has to be working towards one goal.”
Any time a job at a big school in Texas opened, Boutte’s name was also rumored. He also had opportunities at the collegiate level. Sitting in the standings as a spectator was also an option. But Boutte is basketball.
“You have to love what you do,” he said. “And I love it. When you recognize you are blessed to do something, good things will follow. I am truly blessed in my career, but my career is not done.”