You could call Daniel Luquet’s return to the River Parishes a family affair.
It was family considerations that caused Luquet to resign as head football coach at Woodlawn of Baton Rouge to become an assistant at Hahnville.
“I had an opportunity over the (Christmas) break to sit down with ‘Salt’ and talk about the coordinator position,” said Luquet, referring to Hahnville head coach Nick Saltaformaggio. “For me, it was mostly about family. I have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. They have been there while I was at Woodlawn and supported me with my wife.
“For me, it was time to come back home. I can be my daughter’s t-ball coach and can be there when she gets off the bus. Coach Salt offered the offensive coordinator’s position to me, which I thought was great. It’s a chance to work for a guy who has won a lot of football games and done some good things and learn from there.”
Actually, Luquet never really left his native parish of St. Charles. A former Destrehan quarterback and assistant coach, when Luquet departed the Wildcats’ program for Woodlawn, he continued to live in Hahnville, where he and his wife, Cori, started to raise a family.
After serving the Panthers’ offensive coordinator, Luquet was named Woodlawn’s head coach four years ago. He produced a record of 18-25, which included a 3-7 mark a year ago.
The commute from home to Woodlawn made for some long days and had more to do with his departure than his record, Luquet said.
“At the end of the day, it’s a chance be there more for my family. My wife and kids are the most important things to me. It’s a chance to be dad again,” Luquet said of his decision to give up a head coaching job to return to the ranks of being an assistant.
Meanwhile, Saltaformaggio was looking for a change of a different sort.
“We really never adjusted to the loss of Pooka Williams,” Saltaformaggio said of the former Hahnville star running back coming off a stellar freshman year with the Kansas Jayhawks. “We all knew how great he was, obviously, but we didn’t have a system in place or have an offensive structure to handle the loss of a player like that.”
Saltaformaggio is looking for Luquet to install that system.
“It was an opportunity to hire a really, really good offensive mind,” said Saltaformaggio. “He’s a guy that has a system that I think fits the personnel we play with.
“Most importantly for me, he’s a guy from the area. He played at Destrehan and coached at Destrehan. It gives us insight into what we need to do to become a better offensive football team. He will give us an insight into what Destrehan does to be as good as they are – not counting the fact they have great players.”
Luquet was a natural fit in another regard, according to Saltaformaggio.
“He came highly recommended as a Special Education teacher. They are hard to find. He wanted to get closer to home to be closer to his family. He lives in Hahnville and his wife and wife and family are Hahnville people so I think it was a very good match, to tell you the truth,” the Hahnville head coach said.
That experience as a Special Education teacher, Luquet said, transfers well to the football field.
“I’ve been a Special Education teacher ever since I started teaching. The thing about it that translates to football is that in Special Education, it’s more tedious. You have to make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s. You have to have a plan and make sure you follow that plan. You have to be very organized. That’s what I hang my hat on. We will have a plan and have answers for what other people (opposing teams) are trying to do,” said Luquet.
There should be little chance of a house divided now that a former Destrehan quarterback is now an assistant at rival Hahnville. It’s something Luquet and his family are accustomed to.
“My wife graduated from Hahnville,” said Luquet. “My mother-in-law and father-in-law both graduated from this school. Her entire family graduated from this school.
“It’s kind of a crazy thing. She (Cori) works at Destrehan and I work at Hahnville. I graduated from Destrehan and she graduated from Hahnville.”
While coaching at Woodlawn, Luquet faced both Destrehan and Hahnville from the opposite sidelines. He was on the Destrehan sideline as a player and coach but will be on the Hahnville side when the team next meet in the fall. All of that has given Luquet a keen insight into the Destrehan-Hahnville rivalry.
“I truly believe this is the best rivalry in the state,” said Luquet. “But the biggest thing that people outside of St. Charles Parish don’t understand is how much fun and how you should cherish that you have a week that’s dedicated to two of the best high schools in the state going at it on the football field. How the communities are involved in different organizations doing things and raising money; it’s a great week and I’m just excited to be a part of that again.”