Boobie is one of six players on which the book focuses. His real name is James Earl Miles, Jr. Even in his junior year, Boobie was considered a top prospect by colleges across the country. Boobie is clearly talented, but is also cocky and self-absorbed. Boobie comes from an impoverished background and was finally adopted by his uncle, L.V. Miles. Boobie suffers a career-ending knee injury near the beginning of his final season.
Ivory is a middle linebacker for the Panthers. Ivory’s ritual of nervous vomiting before games becomes a source of comfort for the other players. Ivory discovers religion at an early age, which sets him apart from his teammates. Although extremely talented, Ivory feels ambivalent about the game. He often questions his motives for playing until he feels the rush upon entering the field.
Brian is the only Hispanic player on the Permian team. He is relentless on the field, punishing his opponents every play. Unlike the other boys on the team, Brian is academically gifted. He is at the top of his class, and has the unique advantage of obtaining a scholarship with or without his football skills.
Don is a fullback on the team. He is known for being a hell-raiser on and off the field. He struggles to get his drinking and partying under control throughout the book.
Jerrod is a somewhat undersized offensive lineman who plays for Permian. Jarred is fearless on the field and a crowd favorite. After high school, Jarred has trouble letting go of football and settling into a “normal life."
Mike is the team’s quarterback. Although he lacks confidence in his abilities, Coach Gaines considers him to be one of the most dedicated and disciplined players he has coached. Mike Winchell would have liked to play college football, but lacks the size and the speed to make it to that level.
Gary Gaines is the head coach of the Permian football team. Although Gary makes more money than the average teacher, his job depends on football success. Gary works long hours and frequently feels the stresses of a town that tends to rely on high school football for their collective happiness.
L.V. Miles is Boobie's uncle. As a child, Boobie drifted through foster homes until L.V legally adopted him. From that moment on, L.V. vowed to give Booby a chance at life; that chance was football.
Sharon Gaines is the Permian football coach's wife. She keenly feels the weight of the town's football expectations bearing down on her family. Every season is stressful for Sharon, but she tries to be as supportive to her husband and children despite constant criticism from friends, neighbors, and strangers.
Tony is the father of Brian Chavez, the only Hispanic player on the Permian team. Tony is highly educated, working his way through law school to own his own legal firm. Tony is proud of his son's academic excellence, more so than of his football skills.
Permian's head team trainer.
Charlie is the father of Don Billingley. Charlie, now in his middle age, lives for his past high school glories. He represents a father who attempts to relive his glory days through his son.
The team's doctor, who first tended to Boobie's injury on the field.
Gary Edwards and Derric Evans
Both boys are star players for the Carter Cowboys. They didn't have to attend classes, and were assured lucrative college scholarships. They are both arrested for armed robbery before they made it to college.
Will is an Algebra teacher at Carter who refused to change a grade for Gary Edwards to enable him to play football. Will was later fired from his teaching position at Carter.
A preacher and politician, Laurence Hurd is critical of white schools, like Permian, enrolling black boys strictly on the basis of their football talent. He likens this racial profiling to moving the cotton field to the football field.
Head Coach of the Carter Cowboys.
One of the few white people in Odessa interviewed who finds ethnic slurs objectionable.
Willie Hammond Jr.
Hammond became the first black city councilman in the history of Odessa. He was later fired under arson conspiracy and perjury charges, which Hammond insists were part of a set-up.
A humble black player who replaces Don and Boobie at various points during the season, and who is subjected to the racism of the community.
Mike Winchell's father, who died when Mike was thirteen. He died of injuries sustained working in the oil fields. He encouraged his son to work hard, and to live a good life.
Mike Winchell's brother. After their father died, Joe Bill refused to allow Mike to come live with him outside of Odessa; he argued that their father would have wanted him to continue playing football, and ultimately go to college.
Girls who are assigned to individual football players at Permian; they act as their domestic servants, cooking and making signs for them.
Friday Night Lights Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Friday Night Lights is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The teachers are frustrated. Football is the main narrative at school compared to acedemic performance. Teachers are underpaid, overworked professionals who serve a largely uncommitted clientele more interested in football than in learning....
The coach's purpose was to inspire his team.... not for himself, not for the benefit of the team, but rather for them to know that they gave their bast and can hold their head high. He wanted them to remember the days they played football with...