Legendary former head football coach of Odessa (Texas) Gary Gaines died on Monday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Gaines, 73, has spent more than two decades in total pursuing high school programs in Texas. He had two separate four-year stays in Perm – 1986-89 and 2009-12 – with the first being his most famous run.
Gaines’ Perm team of 1988 became the subject of the famous book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, which became a film and a source of inspiration for the popular television series. That team lost in the state semifinals, but Gaines’ 1989 Panther team won the state championship.
“Rest in peace, Coach Gary Gaines. We lost a great coach and the best person,” reads the official Twitter account of the Odessa Perm Panther on Monday.
Another tribute came from the Abilene Christian Football Twitter page. Gaines was the head coach of ACU from 2000 to 2004.
“The ACU football community is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Texas legend coach Gary Gaines, who spent five years at the helm of the Wildcat program,” the tweet reads. “We extend our condolences to the Gaines family.”
“It’s a great honor for me to play and coach Coach Gaines, he will be greatly missed by hundreds of people whose lives he touched. Go ahead, Mojo!!” wrote Perm defense coordinator Vance Washington.
Since the news of Gaines’ death broke last night, other sincere messages have been pouring in.
Gaines compiled an overall record of 127-93-5 at seven different schools during his high school coaching career.
In addition to his five-year stint as ACU’s head coach, Gaines also coached linebackers at Texas Tech from 1990 to 1993.