- Feature Story
- George Becnel
- December 07, 2016 - 7:13pm
River Parish football coaches were full of praise Wednesday for one outgoing coach and another up-and-comer after it was announced Riverside Academy’s Bill Stubbs was retiring and defensive coordinator Chris Lachney was promoted to be his successor with the Rebels.
One area coach who had experience against Stubbs when he was a coach at Salmen as well as at Riverside is Hahnville’s Nick Saltaformaggio.
“He and I go back a long way from his days at Salmen and my days at Chalmette,” said Saltaformaggio. “I think the world of him. He’s been a very excellent coach in the state of Louisiana for a long time and he’s one of the rare guys that has been very, very successful in non-select and then very successful at a select school.
“Hat’s off to him and a great, great career and congratulations to him for finishing up with a state championship.”
Another coach to have competed against Stubbs over the years is Destrehan’s Stephen Robicheaux.
“He’s one of those guys that are a proven Hall of Fame coach. He won at a public school and did it over there and at a private school,” said Robicheaux. “We were very fortunate to scrimmage him when he was at Salmen all those years and was always a guy that had his team ready to play. His record speaks for itself and his championships speak for themselves. I so happy he was able to do things his way and go out a champion and I’m really happy for him.”
Robert Valdez recalled Stubbs from his early days at Salmen and then as a competitor when the current St. James coach was at West St. John.
“I don’t want to date him and say he’s old or not but I remember him all the way back from his Salmen days and coaching against him, we’ve always had great games and great battles and his guys have always done things right,” said Valdez.
St. Charles’ Frank Monica faced Stubbs four times in the last two years, including in last week’s 47-20 loss to the Rebels in the Division III state championship game.
“I admire him a lot because he certainly has paid his dues and he’s had a lot of success and he is getting out at a good time with them just having won a state championship,” Monica said. “Apparently, he had other interests. Football in itself is a grind and even though you have a passion for it, it gets to be a physical thing a lot. I know he wants to be with his family and enjoy the other things in life. I’m happy for him.”
One River Parish coach who knows Lachney on both a professional and personal level is St. Charles defensive coordinator Wayne Stein. Close friends, Stein will serve as best man at Lachney’s upcoming wedding in January.
“It’s a fantastic decision on Riverside’s part. A lot of people in the profession would say what he did five years ago making the jump from Brother Martin to Riverside was a gamble professionally. He did it with a vision in mind and they successfully executed what their plan was and I know he had a big part of their success and I’m sure he will be a big part of it continuing,” said Stein.
River Parish head coaches were quick to welcome Lachney into the fraternity.
“Chris is a guy that’s driven. He knows what it takes to build and maintain championship-level defenses,” said Saltaformaggio.
“Chris has been very, very loyal. He does a lot of work behind the scenes at Riverside and I’m very happy for him,” Valdez said.
“He’s been a real, real good coordinator and he’s been a head coach before and he has great respect among his peers in coaching. I really think he will do a fine job and continue the success they’ve had in that program,” offered Monica.
Robicheaux echoed Monica about Lachney’s reputation in the coaching community.
“I think it’s a great deal that he’s been there and paid his dues, for them to be able to promote from within and keep it going with him is truly special. Chris is well-respected in the coaching profession,” said Robicheaux.