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Top Story: Barta retires

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

The legend retired.

However, not much is expected to chage with the Smith Center football program.

Redmen coach Roger Barta announced his retirement a few days after Smith Center finished 6-4 and lost in the first round of the Class 2-1A state playoffs this fall.

Barta won 323 games in a career that spanned five decades.

He retired to spend more time with his family and grandchildren. Barta helped Smith Center to a state record 79-game winning streak that ended in the 2009 Class 2-1A state championship game.

As well, Smith Center was the subject of the book "Our Boys" written by The New York Times' Joe Drape.

Barta's longtime assistant Dennis Hutchinson, who came to Smith Center before Barta, also retired. Barta's retirement was named one of The Hays Daily News' Top Sports Stories for 2012.

Darren Sasse, the longtime junior high coach, was named Barta's replacement in mid-December.

The rest of the staff is expected to stay the same, including longtme assistants Brock Hutchinson and Mike Rogers staying in their current roles.

"I would say he is a lot like Barta," Smith Center athletic director Greg Hobelmann said of Sasse. "He is very knowledgeable about the game.

He is very organized. He has been running our junior high program for 10 years now. Been very successful at the junior high level."

"Knows the offense, played here, still worked with all the coaches on breaking down film on Saturdays and Sundays," Hobelmann added. "He has always been in the press box upstairs at all the varsity games.

"Even though his name wasn't maybe mentioned in the papers and stuff, he has still been very involved with the high school program."