ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Saturday afternoon, family and friends from all over Texas, made their way to the Crossroad Fellowship in Odessa to honor the late football coach, Gary Gaines.
Gaines passed away, last month, at the age of 73 after his long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Today, hundreds of friends and family made sure to honor who Gary was as a person and not just the famous football coach that West Texas came to know and love.
For those who attended, they heard memories about Gary through those who coached alongside him, including Randy Mayes, some members of the 1988 Permian Panthers state championship team, Trent Hendricks, Lloyd Hill, and Alan Wyles, friends such as, Tim Halsted and Kurt Kiser, and of course, Gary’s son, Bradley Gaines.
Bradley spoke about how grateful and thankful the family was to see the outpour of support and love they have received since his father’s passing. He said he understood how loved he was on the field but the real reason everyone loved him, was because of the man he was off the field.
“We all had our one on one times with dad over the years. I know he made everyone feel special in that time, that’s just who dad was. I was so proud that he was my dad, not because of what he was, but because he was the man he was,” said an emotional Bradley.
Kiser made the closing remarks and prayer for the family and said, “There’s no better man to talk about and to emulate, than Gary Gaines, and the great memories that we all have of him.”
And of course, Kiser said Gary’s four favorite words to end the celebration, “That’s a MOJO touchdown!”
Since Gary’s passing, the family have created The Gary Gaines Alzheimer’s Foundation and look to help those in West Texas, who are battling Alzheimer’s, with their financial troubles.
This report aired in Saturday’s 10 P.M. newscast. You can watch the full newscast below.