Unforgettable Odessa Permian ‘Friday Night Lights’ Coach Dead at 73
Legendary Permian head football Coach Gary Gaines has gone to that football field in the sky at the age of 73.
According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Gaines was the head football coach for Permian High School in the infamous 1988 season that was featured in the book and movie "Friday Night Lights." But his team in the next season went on to win the 1989 5A state championship.
Gaines first arrived at Permian High School in 1979 where he was assistant coach to another Permian coaching legend John Wilkins for three seasons where they won the state championship in 1980.
Gaines left in 1981 but returned to Permian in 1985 to become head football coach when John Wilkins retired.
He left Permian once again in 1990 to be an assistant coach for former Midland Lee High School football coach Spike Dykes when he got the job at Texas Tech.
From 1994-2004 Gaines was head coach at Abilene High, San Angelo Central, and Abilene Christian University.
In 2005 Gaines came back to Odessa to be the Athletic Director for the Ector County Independent School District, then took the same position in 2007 at the Lubbock Independent School District.
He returned again to Odessa and Permian High School one last time in 2009 to be head coach once again and was the head coach for Permian till his retirement in 2012.
Gaines had battled with Alzheimer's since 2017 and died from the disease on Monday night at age 73.
Gaines was born in Crane and was a quarterback at Angelo State University from 1967-1970 where he lettered all four years.
Gaines was inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 2013 and Angelo State University Hall of Honor in 2019.
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