RUTHERFORDTON — John Faircloth may just be 31 years old, but he has approximately 10 years of coaching experience on the collegiate and high school level.

Now he is bringing that experience to Rutherfordton as the new head football coach at R-S Central High School. There are multiple reasons his interest was piqued by the R-S Central position.

“They’ve had some success,” he said. “(Former head football) Coach (Brad) Hutchins did a great job of building a culture. Everybody that I had conversations with had nothing but great things to say about the program.

My wife and I are both Mars Hill alums,” he continued. “We’ve been trying to get back to western North Carolina because we have lots of friends and family in the area. So it really is a win-win.”

As far as coaching mentors Faircloth has had, he says there are too many to name because they have all played a crucial role in helping him develop into the coach he is today.

“I’ve been really fortunate to be around some great guys,” he said. “Everybody has been really helpful along my journey.”

Faircloth acknowledges there will be some challenges taking over with just a few weeks left until the season opener.

“The biggest challenge is just the unknown,” he said. “I believe you have to grab somebody’s heart before you can ask for somebody’s hand. I’ve got to find a way to have these young men trust me. I have to establish that before we can do anything.”

Faircloth also added that he feels thankful to have coaches on staff with him who have been around the program for a while and know how things are supposed to operate.

When it comes to schemes, Faircloth says they are going to do what they can to help their players succeed.

“We are going to put our guys in the best situation that we can,” he said. “We are going to try and utilize our athletes. The biggest thing is can we execute and can we play hard. If we have to keep it simple to do those two things, that’s what we are going to do. We are going to find some things that our guys are good at and can execute at a high level.”

Faircloth and his wife Paige have two kids: a four-year old daughter named Kenley and a two-year old son named Bubby.

The Hilltoppers open regular season play on Aug. 20 at McDowell.