Gary Gaines Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Gary Gaines    

Subject of the critically acclaimed box office hit, Friday Night Lights, Gary is known for rebuilding athletic teams across the nation and inspiring them with an incredible will to win.

Hailed by Sports Illustrated as one of the greatest sports stories ever told, the movie tracks the 1988 national championship season of Gaines's Texas High School football team and truly illustrates his mantra of "improve, restore, and get into championship mode."

Gary Gaines isn't -- and won't ever be -- accustomed to not doing what he sets out to do. He truly knows the hard work and determination it takes to make a winning team, and he is not one to lose sight of his goal. Gaines, who led teams to nine playoff appearances in 17 years as a high school coach, gained national attention as the head coach of Odessa Permian after being featured in H.G. Bissenger's best-selling book, Friday Night Lights. He went on to lead Odessa Permian to the 1989 Class 5A state championship in Texas and the mythical national championship.

After this outstanding championship run, Gaines moved onto Texas Tech. As a linebacker coach with the Red Raiders from 1990-94, Gaines recruited and coached All-American linebacker Zach Thomas, who is now All-Pro with the Miami Dolphins.

Today, Gaines faces his toughest challenge yet, rebuilding the program at Abilene Christian University (ACU) in Abilene Texas. The ACU Wildacts have never played in a NCAA postseason game and have not been to the playoffs since winning the NAIA Division I National Title in 1977. Although ACU has only won four games under Gaines in the first two seasons, the Wildcats are closer than ever to turning it around.

"I said this when I was hired, and I still believe it: we have a great opportunity to win here...No job is easy, and this one is no different."

In the 21 seasons Gaines has served as head coach, he has won 4 high school district championships, made nine playoff appearances, and his Odessa Permian state championship team was ranked as national champion, considered one of the finest teams in history of that program.

Related Speakers View all


More like Gary