He’d build a competitor from the ground up and set his sights on developing Red Springs’ athletes into well-rounded individuals. Two years into his gig, he’s earned his check both on and off the field as a well-respected member of the community and now wears the crown of two-time Robeson County Coach of the Year.
“It’s definitely an honor, but the credit goes first and foremost to the kids,” Coltharp said. “The key these last two years is us as a coaching staff finding where each player fits into the puzzle. The kids have bought into our system and it’s really worked out.”
Coltharp considers his administration’s head-first dive into football as being a lead contributor to the program’s success. Red Springs Principal Dan Ryberg’s open-door policy allows Coltharp the opportunity as the school’s athletic director to implement strategies associated with winning football — the hiring of coaches and upgrades to facilities and equipment.
“When you have people, especially our principal, get behind the football program, it really makes your job as a head coach that much easier,” he said. “You have a leg up on everyone else when your administration lets you hire assistants and that sort of thing.”
Coltharp considers this season’s individual honor more rewarding than last since his ballclub faced the pressure of winning a conference championship, something it hadn’t done in seven years. Building on a 10-win season in 2011 was the goal, albeit stressful. Fueled by a record-setting junior quarterback and talent at the skill positions, the Red Devils finished two wins away from the state title game for the second straight season and Coltharp’s 20 victories over the last two years is the most by any coach in nearly three decades at Red Springs.
Considered one of North Carolina’s best up-and-coming offensive minds, Coltharp’s Air Raid attack hasn’t been stopped in the Three Rivers Conference over the last two seasons utilizing a variety of screens, jet sweeps and quick slants to keep the opposition off balance. Coltharp lost his top assistant Joe Salas to West Bladen in the off-season but managed a more potent offense after assuming full play-calling duties.
“Honestly, it’s pretty neat to get credit for a season of hard work because I’ve been at the other side of that too,” Coltharp said. “It’s not fun being at the bottom and winning gives me the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, maybe I’m a good football coach after all.’”