The Tragic Death Of Friday Night Lights Football Coach Gary Gaines

Gary Gaines, coach of the high school football team that "Friday Night Lights" is based on, tragically died at age 73 on August 22, according to the Daily Mail. Gaines coached football for over 30 years across the state of Texas before being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years ago, which ultimately led to his death. "Friday Night Lights" is a best-selling book by Buzz Bissinger that captures the story of the Permian High School football team in Odessa, Texas, as Coach Gaines attempted to lead them to the 1988 state championship, but fell short, according to the New York Post.

"Friday Night Lights" was also turned into a movie and then a TV series following the book's success. However, despite its popularity and the portrayal of Gaines as a passionate coach with serious determination to win, Gaines was not a fan. In fact, he claimed he never read the book because he felt betrayed by Bissinger.

Gaines was previously inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Fame, according to the Odessa American. Ron King, a former Odessa High School coach, told the newspaper, "I just can't find the words to pay respects. It's a big loss for the coaching profession. There are a lot of coaches he took under his wing and mentored." Many other coaches and students have expressed their condolences after Gaines' death.

Gary Gaines is remembered for his passion for football

Gary Gaines retired from coaching in 2012, according to Bleacher Report, but he will always be remembered for his determination to win and passion for the sport. After losing during the 1988 season, Gaines led the Permian High School football team to the state championship in 1989 and is a pivotal character in the TV series, film, and book "Friday Night Lights." He inspired countless players across Texas as he coached both the high school and college level over the span of his 30–year coaching career, per ESPN.

Odessa High School coach Ron King told the Odessa American, "He taught me what I needed to be successful as a coach, how to coach kids and how to talk to kids to teach them to believe in themselves." The Odessa Permian Panthers official Twitter account tweeted, "RIP Coach Gary Gaines. We lost a great coach and a better man." One of his former players wrote, "Coach Gary Gaines did more for me as a man than he ever did for me as a football player. You left a lasting legacy on my life!"

Not only did Gaines touch the lives of the players and coaches he crossed paths with over his career, but he also inspired those who watched or read "Friday Night Lights" as well. He will be remembered for his passion for football and the positive influence he had on those who knew him personally, as well as those who admired his career from afar.