Former Jordan-Matthews head coach Scotten named new Orange offensive coordinator

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Updated: July 3, 2019

It used to be that the final few weeks of school would be among the least stressful times of the year for a football coach.

It wasn’t that way for Orange coach Van Smith this year.

Pressed into a 11th hour scramble to find a new offensive coordinator, Smith managed to reach an agreement with Marty Scotten, who stepped down as head coach at Jordan-Matthews in April after 23 years. Scotten compiled a 129-145-1 record in Siler City.

Smith and Scotten will finally share the same sideline after competing against each other for over 20 years. When Smith the defensive coordinator at Graham High School under former head coach Pat Moser, Scotten competed in the PAC-7 Conference with the Jets. Smith, who will start his third season as Orange head coach this August, has played Jordan-Matthews in 7-on-7 scrimmages each of the past four years.

“He’s just a great guy and a good friend,” Smith said. “He’s a heckuva football coach.”

This August will be the first time that Scotten hasn’t been a head coach since 1996, but he’s prepared for the change of pace.

“It will be a change, but I’m enjoying it because there’s a lot less to do,” Scotten said. “I feel like I’m on vacation almost. Head coach is a lot more than people realize and I’m enjoying not doing it, to be honest with you.”

After years of a ground based offense that featured spectacular running backs like Tay Jones, Marvante Beasley and Morgan Paschal, the Panthers struggled to find cohesiveness in 2018. The Panthers limped to a 3-8 record, its worst mark since 2010.

Scotten, who will be Orange’s third offensive coordinator in the last three years, doesn’t want to tip his hand as to what formation his group will utilize once August scrimmages roll around. But he does hint that the Panthers will try to reestablish its once-vaunted running game.

“We want to run the ball,” Scotten said. “We want to base everything around the run and some power running. We’re going to throw it, too. We want to be able to run the football when we need to run the football. We want to throw when we want to throw instead of being forced to throw. It’s important to get back to a good running game.”

Scotten’s hire came just two weeks after the departure of Ben Kolstad, who joined the Orange coaching staff in January. Kolstad, who lives within walking distance of Orange High, left to become the new head coach at Leesville Road in Raleigh.

It was a move that caught the Orange coaching staff and administration by surprise. Upon being hired last winter, Kolstad told several colleagues and reporters that he grew tired of driving to Raleigh, which forced to wake up at 5:30AM to beat the unrelenting traffic and left him little time with his children. Kolstad even applied to become Orange’s head coach in 2017 after Moser’s retirement.

Kolstad completed spring practice, then informed Smith and then-Orange Principal Eric Yarbrough of the offer from Leesville Road. Several Orange assistants, who had worked side-by-side with Kolstad during the spring, had no idea he was considering leaving until seeing various reports of his hire at Leesville Road on May 28.

Everything that Kolstad installed during Orange’s two weeks of spring practice was scrapped.

“The situation we found ourselves in a couple of weeks ago left us scrambling,” Smith said. “The good lord takes care of us in mysterious ways. It just so happened that it worked out that Marty was looking to make a move and we were able to get him.”

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