Those who have read the book Friday Night Lights or seen the movie or the television show of the same name may think of Permian High School as a football powerhouse, a school competing for state championships year in and year out.
While this may have been true 20 years ago when author Buzz Bissinger was in town researching his book, the school has taken a painful fall from grace recently. During the past four years, the team has gone a pedestrian 23-21.
The lack of success has resulted in the resignation of Permian's legendary coach, Gary Gaines. The man who led the team to a state title in 1989, was portrayed by Billy Bob Thornton in the 2004 movie. He returned in 2009 for a second stint as head coach. But his teams could only produce one playoff win during the past four years.
"It was just one of those things," Gaines said. "I understand when programs don't improve sometimes the head coach has to bear that responsibility."
Gaines' first stint in Permian was wildly successful. From 1986 to 1989 he went 46-7-1, and led his team to an undefeated season in 1989. He left after that year and took various other jobs around the state over the next two decades.
When Gaines returned to Permian in 2009 to take over the football team, the magic was gone.
"We're going to give it to someone else and, hopefully, they can make more out of it than we did," Gaines said of the head coaching position. "We came here to make some deep playoff runs and we weren't able to do that. That's what (Permian fans) expect, and I expect as well."
(H/T to Bush League Chronicle)