Gary Gaines, Legendary Texas Football Coach of 'Friday Night Lights' Fame, Has Died

He was 73 years old.

High School Football
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Sad news out of West Texas this week. Gary Gaines, coach of the high school football team that inspired Friday Night Lights, died Monday at the age of 73.

Gaines' family said in a statement that the legendary coach died in Lubbock after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

While he coached a number of teams over the course of three decades, Gaines is most known for his stint as the head coach of the football team at Odessa Permian High School in Odessa. Gaines went 47-6-1 during that stretch and led the team to a perfect season that ended with a state title in 1989.

Gaines' 1988 season at Odessa Permian was the focus of Buzz Bissinger's 1990 best selling book, Friday Night Lights, which was eventually made into a movie and then a television show on NBC.

The Angelo State University grad went on to coach at Abilene High School, San Angelo Central, and later at Abilene Christian University. He returned to Odessa Permian for another four-year run in 2009, though he was unable to repeat his prior successes.

Gaines is survived by his wife, Sharon, their two children, and several grandchildren.

Our hearts are with his family, friends, and all those he touched.

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