For Daniel Luquet to become the head football coach at Hahnville, one guy knew he needed to leave St. Charles Parish and another guy brought him back.
“When he got the opportunity really young at 32 to go to Woodlawn, I was excited for him. I thought for him to become a head coach in (St. Charles) Parish, he had to go somewhere and get some experience,” said Marty Luquet, Daniel’s father. “He was able to do that there. I think he cut his teeth there and I think it’s worked out well.
“To come back and really achieve that opportunity – when there are only two schools, the chances of you getting one of them – is pretty slim. I figured he would have to wait his turn. To get it at 37, I’m so excited for him.”
After the younger Luquet, a former Destrehan player and assistant coach, spent five years at Woodlawn, Nick Saltaformaggio bought him back to St. Charles Parish as offensive coordinator of rival Hahnville for the 2019 season.
“I’m so happy for him,” Saltaformaggio said. “Growing up the son of a coach, a guy that was a successful high school player at one of the outstanding programs in the state in Destrehan, and then having an opportunity to kind of cut his teeth at Woodlawn, to come back and be able to take over at Hahnville…He’s a lifetime coach. He’s going to be a coach the rest of his life. I think he will do some outstanding things at Hahnville. I really do. I’m so glad they picked him. He’s a resident of St. Charles Parish. His wife is a Hahnville graduate. I think people identify with him and he will identify with them.”
Saltaformaggio’s recent departure for Holy Cross, his alma mater, created the opening as head coach for Luquet at Hahnville.
After serving as an assistant at Destrehan, Luquet left for an assistant’s post at Woodlawn in 2014. After one year at Woodlawn, he became the team’s head coach. Over the next four seasons, he produced a record of 18-25.
Although the record might not indicate it, the years served Luquet well at Woodlawn. It was stint that lasted just about the right length, his father said.
“There’s a lot of luck involved in being in the right place at the right time,” the elder Luquet said. “He had the four years at Woodlawn. I had worried he might stay there too long and then you see his record – 18-25 I think he was at Woodlawn. You look at it and say, ‘Hahnville hired a guy who was 18-25. That’s kind of odd.’
“The district they were in, they were the smallest 5A school in state and they were in there with Catholic High, St. Amant, East Ascension and Dutchtown. The losses and the learning – it was hard to get kids to go to Woodlawn when he first got there. By the end, they got to go to 4A but they got put in with Parkview Baptist, Lutcher, and Plaquemine. He still had a lot of tough teams to play.”
Both Marty Luquet, a longtime high school baseball coach, at Destrehan and Saltaformaggio, said Daniel has a knack of develop a good rapport with his players.
“One of the things that was my philosophy that he took ownership was is how important the kids are. It’s about them. It’s not about us (as coaches). It’s not about the program. It’s not about winning, even though when you do things right, the winning takes care of itself. He took that all in and he’s very adamant about making sure that it’s right for the players,” the elder Luquet said.
“I think he is very personable with the kids. When you go from a guy who’s 60 (like Saltaformaggio) to a guy that’s 37, what you may lose in experience, you gain in that atmosphere of that age group. I think he will be really good at handling the younger players,” the former Hahnville head coach said.
The relationship with players and desire to coach, said Marty Luquet, is a natural outgrowth for his son after years of following dad around the ballpark.
“He was born my first year at O. Perry Walker and he would be at the ballpark with me every opportunity he could,” said Marty. “He was growing up around fields. He was growing up around coaches. He was growing up around players That influence was always going to be there just because of proximity.
“But when he went away to college, that wasn’t his plan. His plan was not to be a coach. He was going into TV production and it changed about halfway through his career and he decided he wanted to coach. I was all for that. I love coaching. I told him you will never be rich. Your rewards come through the kids. He knew this was something he wanted to do.”
In terms of taking over as head coach at Hahnville, Daniel just needs to be himself, according to Saltaformaggio.
“The best advice I can give him is to do it his way and don’t look back. He has a plan – follow his plan. That’s the best advice that was ever given to me,” said Saltaformaggio.
And what about dad to son?
“I never give him any advice,” said Marty. “I play dad. I don’t give him any advice about football.”