The engineer of eight state championships, including five straight from 2004-2008, has decided it's time to hang up his whistle.
Roger Barta told his team the time was right for him to step aside after a meeting on Wednesday that he is retiring.
"What would the town of Smith Center be like if he would not have made his stop here?" said assistant coach and former player Mike Rogers. "To me he's changed the face of Smith Center."
Shortly after making the announcement, Barta jumped in his car and headed off to Holton, where his son Brooks is head coach. The Wildcats are still alive in the 4A playoffs and host McPherson on Friday night.
But just last week, while preparing for what would be his final game as the Redmen head coach, an opening round playoff loss to Sterling, Barta talked about the message he tried to instill in the kids he coached.
"Come to work everday and practice," said Barta. "The kids work really hard the enjoy the game of football and they try to get better every day."
During the Redmen's run of five state titles, Barta's team won 79 straight games. The Redman also set a national record by scoring 72 points in a quarter in a win against Plainville in 2006. He was named Gatorade National Coach of the year in 2007.
Barta exits the coaching ranks with 323 career victories and 11 appearances in the state title game, to go along with those eight titles. The 323 victories places him in fourth on the all-time Kansas football coaching wins list.
In this his final season at the helm of the Redman, his team got out to one of the slowest starts in decades. Yet the team was able to turn around a from a 1-3 start to win five straight games to grab yet another district championship and a spot in the state playoffs.
As word started to spread of Barta's retirement, well wishes began to pop up from across the country.
Joe Drape, the New York Times best selling author of "Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen" tweeted "He taught me a lot & I'm grateful he and the whole town welcomed my family." ()
"He not only transformed a football program he transformed an entire school and community," said Smith Center graduate and current voice of the Kansas City Chiefs Mitch Holthus.
Barta served as the Redmen's head coach from 1978-2012, a 35-year run, and for many, it's hard to imagine Smith Center football with out Barta at the helm.
"Having him here has been a solid consistence," said Junior High Head Coach Darren Sasse, who also played for Barta. "It's going to be strange for me to not have him as that guy when you look down the sideline."