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Famed Texas high school football coach Gary Gaines dies at 73

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Sep 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; A general view of the fifty yard line marking painted on the field at Hard Rock Stadium prior to the game between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Texas high school football coaching legend Gary Gaines died on Monday at age 73 after battling Alzheimer’s disease, his family announced.

Gaines was best known for his time at Odessa Permian High, which he led to the state semifinals in 1988 and to a state championship in 1989. The 1988 season was chronicled in the book “Friday Night Lights,” by Buzz Bissinger, and was later made into a 2004 movie.

Billy Bob Thornton portrayed Gaines in the film, which spawned a spinoff TV series of the same name that explored the passion of Texas high school football.

Gaines coached Permian from 1986-89 before becoming an assistant coach at Texas Tech from 1990-93. He returned to the Texas high school ranks at Abilene (1994-95) and San Angelo Central (1996-99) before a five-year run as the head coach at Abilene Christian, where he posted a 21-30 record.

Another stint at Permian followed from 2009-12. Gaines finished with a 69-28-1 record at Permian, 127-93-5 overall at seven Texas high schools.

–Field Level Media