Gary Gaines, a famed American football coach, passed away on Monday. He was 73 years old. He became famous after the book and movie “Friday Night Lights” had a character based on his work with the 1988’s Odessa Permian team. Read on to know how did Gary Gaines die.
The book was written by Buzz Bissinger and Gaines was played by Billy Bob Thornton in the movie based on it that was released in 2004. It revealed the craze of football in a Texas high school that focused on the game more than studies and portrayed Gaines as a compassionate coach.
Gaines revealed that he never read the book and also felt betrayed by Bissinger who spent the entire 1988 season with the team which was shown in his work.
How did Gary Gaines die?
Gary Gaines died on Monday, August 22, 2022, at his home after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. His family announced the tragic news with a statement quoted below:
“It is with great sadness that coach Gary Gaines’ family announces his peaceful passing this afternoon after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Memorial plans will follow in the coming days. Announcement within. Thank you for keeping our family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Gaines was an accomplished American football coach who spent around 30 seasons coaching in West Texas at different high schools.
What was the cause of Gary Gaines’ death?
Gary Gaines passed away after having a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease which is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a progressive disease, so the symptoms appear gradually and become severe over the years.
Gaines announced that he had been diagnosed with the early set-on of the disease in 2017. His condition was deteriorating for the last few years after his retirement from coaching. He died this Monday surrounded by his family and loved ones.
Gary Gaines was a celebrated high school football coach
Gary Gaines was born on May 4, 1949, in Crane Texas. He played quarterback at Angelo State University from 1967 through 1970, lettering all four years. Gaines had numerous stops in West Texas during a 30-year coaching career.
His best stint came at Odessa Permian for four years where he led the team in the dramatic 1988 season which was chronicled by H.G. Bissinger in his book “Friday Night Lights.” Permian lost in the state semifinals that year.
He then led Permian to the fifth of the program’s six state championships with a perfect season next year. After that, he left to become an assistant coach at Texas Tech. He later returned to Permian and continued as their coach.
Before that, he coached two of Permian’s rivals, Abilene High and San Angelo Central. He then returned to college as the coach at Abilene Christian. His next four-year run with Permian started in 2009. He was also a school district athletic director in Odessa and Lubbock.
Gaines also worked as a public speaker at high schools and colleges across the country and gave insight on teamwork, leadership, winning, and success on and off the field.
He was inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 2013 for his remarkable work throughout his career. Gaines also got inducted into the Angelo State University Hall of Honor in 2019.
Odessa Permian High School Pays Tribute to Gary Gaines
Odessa Permian High School football team, Odessa Permian Panthers, paid tribute to their former coach on Monday.
“RIP Coach Gary Gaines. We lost a great coach and a better man,” the tweet reads.
“Ron King, retired coach and former Permian assistant, told the Odessa American, “It’s a big loss for the coaching profession. There are a lot of coaches he took under his wing and mentored.”
Gaines is survived by his wife Sharon Gaines and children Bradley Gaines and Nicole Gaines. Our deepest condolences go out to his family in this tough time. May God let the departed soul rest in peace.