New HHS coach brings discipline, high energy

Nick Saltaformaggio will succeed Lou Valdin as head coach of Hahnville High School’s football program.

Saltaformaggio, 53, was most recently the head coach of the East Jefferson High School Warriors for the past six years and took the team from a 1-8 campaign in 2008 to a 4A state championship and undefeated 15-0 record last season. He beat out 49 other applicants for the position, including 13 others who interviewed for the job over a two-day period in early January.

The search for the new coach at HHS began after Lou Valdin stepped down due to health reasons after 15 years at the helm of the team, including 14 straight seasons as a playoff contender and a state championship in 2003.

Largely due to the St. Charles Parish community, Saltaformaggio said he believes the Hahnville head coaching job is one of the best in the region.

“I just think you have the people, administration and what you need to win a state championship,” he said. “I think you have unbelievable fan and booster support if you just look at the number of season tickets Hahnville sells every single year. Then you look at the facilities and the pool of athletes. You also have the St. Charles Parish school system, which is one of the top school systems in the state of Louisiana.

“When you combine all of those elements, it is obviously a job that is one of the premiere jobs, not only in Louisiana, but one of those premiere jobs in the south.”

Saltaformaggio started his career as an assistant at L.W. Higgins and got his first shot as a head coach at Abbeville from 1987 to 1991, during which time his teams had a combined record of 13-27. He later went on to become an assistant at St. Bernard High School where he eventually became head coach for the second time in his career going 10-2 in his first season in 2004. After starting off the 2005 season with one win, Hurricane Katrina devastated St. Bernard Parish and he was forced to relocate to Georgia where he served as head coach at Oconee County and posted a 13-8 record over the 2006 and 2007 seasons. In 2008 Saltaformaggio returned to Louisiana to take the head coaching job at East Jefferson.

When asked about his coaching style, Saltaformagio said he is defined by his high energy level and his expectation that his players have a good work ethic.

“I am a very active coach, I move around the field a lot. I expect tempo from my players,” Saltaformaggio said. “I want organization and discipline because those are the things I am looking for on Friday night because you are going to play people along the way, as we did this year, and they are going to have better players than you are at certain positions. But there is no excuse for being outworked.”

Saltaformaggio said he is looking forward to taking over at HHS partially because of its history as a perennial playoff contender.

“I am a program guy. I think you build programs because programs endure and that is really the most appealing thing about Hahnville,” he said.

As far as stepping us to a 5A program from a 4A program, Saltaformaggio said he is up to the task.

“I guess you just look for the challenge all of the time,” he said. “Hahnville is a 5A school and it is as big of big time that you are going to get.  I think as high school football grows it is becoming a national audience and Hahnville is a school that can be a national school.”

Coming off his first state championship season, Saltaformaggio said he fully anticipates winning more championships as the head coach at Hahnville.

“My goal as a coach my entire life is that I just want to be the guy that can win state championship after state championship. Hahnville High School is a school and community that gives you that opportunity,” he said.

Saltaformaggio will officially take over as head coach on March 10.

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