Born: July 11, 1945 (Ellsworth, KS)
Graduated: Plainville High School, 1963; Fort Hays State University, 1967; University of Georgia (M.S.), 1971
One of the most successful high school football coaches in Kansas history, Roger Barta built a Smith Center dynasty that lasted over two decades and included eight state championships.
Born on July 11, 1945, in Ellsworth, but raised in Plainville, Barta learned from Plainville High School coach Al Hargrave what it meant to make a difference in a young person's life. It was that influence that guided Barta to finish his degree at Fort Hays State University in 1967 and master's degree in 1971 while serving as an assistant football coach at Atwood, Tonganoxie, and Wakeeney.
Smith Center Dynasty
Hired as the Smith Center High School head football coach in 1978, Barta began building young people into model citizens and teams that were the envy of the state. His impact was immediate as Smith Center reached the championship in Barta's second season and won their first state football title in his fifth season. Over the course of Barta's career, he claimed eight state football championships (1982, 1986, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008), totaling a career coaching record of 323-68. Barta's teams set numerous state records, including career coaching win percentage with .826, all-time undefeated seasons with seven, consecutive undefeated seasons with five, and consecutive wins with 79 from 2004 to 2009. The win streak, the fourth longest high school win streak in the nation, brought national attention, and even a book, titled Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen, featuring Smith Center and its football team from 2009. Barta coached numerous players who played college and professional football, including 2011 Kansas Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Mark Simoneau.
Barta was inducted to the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011. Barta is also the namesake of the road outside of Smith Center High School, "Roger Barta Way."