Legendary high school football coach, made famous by 'Friday Night Lights,' passes away at 73
One legendary high school football coach – Gary Gaines – has passed away at the age of 73 in Lubbock, Texas. Gaines was made popular by the book (and later move and TV show of the same name) “Friday Night Lights.”
According to a report from ESPN, Gaines was battling Alzheimer’s disease for a substantial period of time prior to his passing.
The book written by Buzz Bissinger chronicled the 1988 season at Odessa Permian High School. In the movie, which was released in 2004, Gaines was portrayed by Billy Bob Thornton:
The book, which portrayed Gaines as a compassionate coach caught in the win-at-all-costs culture of a high school program in football-crazed Texas, also was turned into a TV series.
Permian lost in the state semifinals in 1988, a season that included the loss of star running back James “Boobie” Miles to a knee injury during a preseason scrimmage. Miles’ character played a prominent role in the movie.
Gaines would lead his team to win a state title in 1989 with a perfect season. He would serve 2 stints as Permian’s head coach and also had time in the college ranks as an assistant at Texas Tech. Gaines had one stop as a collegiate head coach with Abilene Christian.
Gaines also served time at Abilene High and San Angelo Central, 2 of Permian’s biggest high school rivals in Texas.