Former Abilene High and Abilene Christian University head football coach Gary Gaines passed away on Monday after a long fight with Alzheimer’s at the age of 73.

Gaines only spent two years leading the Eagles’ program, but his impact was felt for years.

Many credit his contributions to the Eagles eventual playoff streak that ran from 1999-2012 with a state championship in 2009.

Mike Fullen says Gaines was a great man.

Fullen said, “One of the things Gary did was he made you feel like the most important person in the room when you talked to him. He was an icon in Texas high school football. To be able to build a relationship with him when he was here, then when we was at Central, and then when he was at ACU, he had a big impact on a lot of people and a lot of players and a lot of coaches that are in this profession. He’s going to be missed.”

Fullen begins his fourth season as the Eagles head coahc on Friday night.

Abilene High opens up at home against Odessa Permian.

The Panthers are the team Gaines is most known for coaching.