This week marks the beginning of interviews for Destrehan High School’s next head football coach, with St. Charles Parish Public School district selecting from a pool of 27 applicants.
This first round of interviews will narrow down the field, with a second round of interviews scheduled to take place March 16 and 17, according to Kade Rogers, the school system’s athletic director. Rogers said the plan is for the coaching search committee to make a recommendation to the School Board by March 25.
The process will determine the successor to longtime DHS head coach Stephen Robicheaux following his retirement last month. Robicheaux departed after leading Destrehan to the Class 5A championship game last season, that marking the program’s fourth Superdome appearance during his tenure. He led the Wildcats to two state championships and held a win-loss record of 186-41 over his 18 seasons as head coach.
While the district has not released the names of the candidates, Rogers said among them are applicants from Michigan, Virginia, Kentucky, Texas and Arkansas, as well as several throughout the state. Three current Destrehan assistant coaches are among the applicants.
Rogers said that given Destrehan’s reputation as one of the state’s elite programs, it’s not surprising that the opening received a great deal of interest, though he conceded 27 applicants “is a lot “ for an opening.
“I think it speaks a lot about the program, the facilities, the school system and all of the benefits that come with one of the premiere programs in the state of Louisiana,” Rogers said. “We want to make sure we make the best decision for the student athletes of Destrehan High School. And it’s something that impacts not just our student athletes, but the school and community as a whole. We want someone who can uphold the tradition of Destrehan.”
Rogers said the “X’s and O’s” side of things will carry heavy weight, but that there’s much more to consider in terms of the qualities the district seeks in the school’s next coach.
“It’s multiple levels,” Rogers said. “Of course, game management and philosophy plays a lot into it but there’s so much more to it … being involved in the community, coaching the whole student-athlete. Four years isn’t a long time in the grand scheme, maybe, but it’s a long time to make an impact on a young life.”
After making the announcement of his retirement, Robicheaux said the decision to make the move now came, in part, through his entry into the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), an optional program allowing one to freeze regular monthly retirement benefit funds and have it deposited into a separate account, while still working and drawing a salary from a TRSL-reporting agency or school.
“It’s definitely a job with high expectations, both on and off the field,” Rogers said. “And there are big shoes to fill (in regards to Robicheaux and the program’s past coaches).”
Rogers did not note which of the three DHS assistants were among applicants. A staff rich in head coaching experience served under Robicheaux. Defensive coordinator Malter Scobel (Brother Martin) and fellow assistants Chad Blanchard (Patterson), Tim Taffi (Riverside) and Rhett Peltier (Loreauville) each have recent tenures as head coach of a program. Longtime offensive coordinator Greg Boyne was also noted in past seasons by Robicheaux as someone likely to one day soon become a head coach in the prep ranks, and seems another likely candidate.