If you attend high school football games, you’re familiar with “Friday Night Lights.” What are the origins of this expression, and how did it take the nation by storm? It all started with a football team in Odessa, Texas — the Permian Panthers, to be precise, and their legendary leader, Coach Gaines.09-23-15 Gary Gaines

Texas. Where bigger is better, especially on the football field. However, with all of that excitement comes a ton of pressure for the players and their coach.

In 1988, the Panthers had a near-miss to head to state. With so much buzz around the team and intense scrutiny from the community and public at large, Author H. G. Bissinger came on the scene to try to strike up a book deal. He would follow Coach Gaines and the team in 1989 and chronicle their tale in “Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream.”

The Panthers did the town proud and, under the direction of Coach Gaines, won the Texas state championship in 1989. The team was a hit; however, Bissinger’s book was not, due to remarks in the novel that painted the team and the town in a negative light at times.  Gaines with Team_Odessa American.jpg

Not long after that, “Friday Night Lights” the movie was released, followed by a television series spanning five seasons. It’s safe to say that Coach Gaines’s legacy will long live on in the hearts of Americans who anticipate their own weekly Friday Night Lights.

As any good sports story has a final chapter, Coach Gaines’s career at Odessa did eventually come to an end. So what is a football coach to do with all that knowledge? Put it to work in the high school sports industry helping schools build upon their game day.

Coach Gaines started at Daktronics in 2013, serving Texas high school athletics. What better opportunity for athletic directors to ensure they receive the best display for their team than to work with someone that has been in their position?

While Coach Gaines is a well-known name in the history of Daktronics employees, he is not the first, nor certainly the last, field expert we hire. Many of our sales staff enter with a great work history, putting their real-world experience to good use to better help our customers.

We wish Coach well in his retirement this year.

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