Gary Gaines, school football coach of 'Friday Night Lights' fame, dies at 73

gary Gaines, the coach of the Texas high school football team made famous in the book and movie “Friday Night Lights,” has died. He was 73.

Gaines' family said in a statement that the former coach died Monday in Lubbock, Texas, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

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Gaines made many stops in West Texas during a 30-year coaching career but was best-known for a four-year stint leading the highly successful program at Odessa Permian in Odessa

His 1988 team was chronicled in Buzz Bissinger's bestselling book, which portrayed a program and school that favored football over academics and attributed racist comments to assistant coaches.

Gaines, who was played by Billy Bob Thornton in the 2004 movie, said he never read the book and felt betrayed by Bissinger after the author spent the entire 1988 season with the team.

The book, which portrayed Gaines as a compassionate coach caught in the win-at-all-costs culture of a high school program in football-crazed Texas, also was turned into a TV series.

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