RED SPRINGS — In his time at the helm of the Red Springs High School football team, George Coltharp continually pushed one idea on his players: have the courage to be what you’re supposed to be instead of what people think you are.
It’s advice he took for himself this week.
Coltharp announced Thursday that he will be leaving Red Springs to become the offensive coordinator at Pine Forest, ending a three-year stint that included back-to-back 10-win seasons and a Three Rivers Conference championship in 2012.
“This is nothing against the kids, nothing against Red Springs, it’s just time to move on,” Coltharp said. “This is just another step in my career.”
Chris Howell, Red Springs’ athletic director, said school administration received Coltharp’s letter of resignation Thursday morning and that the position will open up as soon as the letter is accepted by the Board of Education for the Public Schools of Robeson County.
“We’d like to find someone as soon as possible,” he said.
Howell said that the football team’s summer workouts will go on as planned with the team’s remaining coaches. No decision has been made on who will lead the team in the interim.
Coltharp’s departure marks the county’s third football coaching change this offseason. Lumberton replaced interim head coach Ron Cook with Mike Setzer in February and Pirate assistant Clay Jernigan took the helm at South Robeson in April after Stephen Roberson was hired by Westover.
Coltharp took over the program in May 2011 to replace Eric Puryear and also briefly served as the school’s athletic director. Behind the scenes he also helped the school procure a new weight room that made its debut last year.
With a high-octane Air Raid offense molded around quarterback Blake Greene, Coltharp led the Red Devils to a 22-16 overall record. In his first two years, the team finished 10-3 and 10-4 with losses in the third round of the state playoffs. The young Red Devils struggled for most of last season and went 2-9, missing the playoffs.
Greene left the program as one of the most decorated players in Robeson County history.
Coltharp said the offer at Pine Forest came suddenly.
“It wasn’t a situation where it was a calculated decision,” he said.
It gives the Fayetteville native and former college player a chance to coach a 4A program in his hometown and work under Bill Sochovka, who led the Trojans to a 10-2 record last season. Coltharp said he’s alright leaving behind the day-to-day operations that come with being a head coach.
“I’m going up there and I’m going to run the offense and I don’t have a problem with that,” he said.
Coltharp said he’s thankful for many people he’s worked with in the county, including former Red Springs principal Dan Ryberg and boosters around the school.
“With the current climate at Red Springs it was time for me to move on,” he said. “We’ve done everything we can to make the job a better job than when we got here.”
Scott Schlaufman can be reached at 910-272-6111 or @ScottySchlauf.