FEATURE: Luquet thrilled with opportunity at Hahnville
He has experienced it all.
Having played and coached on the East Bank of St. Charles Parish at Destrehan, having a son who attended Destrehan and having his wife teaching at Destrehan, Daniel Luquet is patently aware of River Parish Football and the intense interest in the sport in the parish.
A year ago, Luquet got a chance to move over to the “other side,” becoming the offensive coordinator on the West Bank of St. Charles Parish at Hahnville.
Luquet, 37, is beyond excited about the opportunity.
“It’s everything that is Hahnville,” Luquet said. “From the faculty to our administration, the kids, the parents, the community. I’ve been part of this community for a long time now and I know how exciting it gets around here during football season but for me, it’s not only football season but 365 days a year. Everything about Hahnville is exciting.”
While the rivalry between Hahnville and Destrehan is white hot, one of the best and fiercest in the state, Luquet is tamping down the heated part of the relationship while understanding how important it is to many people.
“I grew up with friends everywhere in St. Charles Parish,” Luquet said. “My dad was a (baseball) coach at Destrehan for a long time. I have a good relationship with people over there, I have a good relationship with Marcus (Scott). I only think that can help us as a school district. If we can work hand-in-hand and have a great relationship between the two high schools, that can only make this parish better.”
Luquet has leaned on his father, Marty, for advice on many occasions.
“Having a guy to lean on like that over the last couple of years as a head coach and as a coordinator is big,” Luquet said. “He’s been in every situation. When he retired from Destrehan, he had about 50 plus kids come back and line up on the foul line for the national anthem for his last baseball game. For me, it’s about relationships and it’s about growing men.”
Luquet will strive to develop his pupils into more than just players.
“Championships are great, we plan on winning a lot of championships but to be able to build lifelong relationships with kids, to watch them become awesome dads and brothers and contributors in the community, that’s what it’s about,” Luquet said. “We’re educators first and coaches second.”
From a coaching standpoint, Luquet was hired by Nick Saltaformaggio as offensive coordinator prior to last season.
“Offensively, we took some big strides last year to what I expect from us,” Luquet said. “Being year one, you get in there in January and you’ve got a lot that you have to teach in a short period of time. For us, I thought we did a great job of accepting a new offense and thriving in it. The sky’s the limit. We’ve got eight guys returning on offense. We can build on what we do. Coach Salt was a more run-oriented guy. I like to throw it around a little bit more.”
While Luquet has coached offense, he knows the other side of the football is equally important.
“You win with great defense,” Luquet said. “We lose a lot of great players on our defense, really good football players that will play at the next level. For us, we’re young, we’re fast, Coach (Carey) Melvin is going to be our defensive coordinator. He has the experience with the things he wants to do. You can expect us to be disciplined on both sides of the football. You are going to have to come into Tiger Stadium and beat us because we’re not going to beat ourselves.”
Hahnville principal Brian Lumar cannot wait for the regime of Luquet to begin.
“We are extremely excited and fortunate,” Lumar said. “Daniel embodies the total student-athlete. That’s what we are about here. At HHS, we want to educate, we want to encourage, we want to empower our student-athletes to be the best they possibly can be.”
Lumar described what Luquet brings to the table outside of coaching.
“He is all about teaching and learning,” Lumar said. “He lives and dies by our customer service standards in which he’s professional. He’s always been a great ambassador not just for this school but Destrehan as well as well as the entire St. Charles Parish community. All those things are extremely vital when we’re talking about the totality of the entire child.”
Hahnville athletic director Mendi LeBouef shares the enthusiasm of having Luquet taking over the football program.
“I’m very excited about having Daniel as our head coach,” LeBouef said. “I think Daniel is organized. I think he’s a great communicator. I’ve always been impressed watching the relationships he built with our student-athletes. I just think he’s going to be a really good leader for our program as it relates to growing these guys on the field and off the field. I think we’ve got a really well-rounded coach.”
Luquet spent five years most recently at Woodlawn of Baton Rouge, including four years as head coach. He feels that experience has prepared him well for his new challenge.
“They took a shot on a guy who was a coordinator there for one year,” Luquet said. “I thought we did some great things there. It was time for me to come home and when Coach Salt and me talked, it’s a five minute drive from my house. I had young kids who were starting to play T-ball and starting to do a lot more things in the community.”
Luquet is home and knows how fortunate he is.
“My home always is Luling and that was always what it was about for me,” Luquet said. “I knew I was coming back but it was about the right opportunity. Getting to come to Hahnville last January was probably the best thing that ever happened. Sometimes, you’ve got to bet on yourself and felt like I did and that is something that worked out for me in the long run.”
Luquet played and coached under Steve Robicheaux at Destrehan and Saltaformaggio at Hahnville, both of whom won state championships in their careers.
“Not only did I get to work for Coach Robicheaux but he coached me in high school for my last two years,” Luquet said. “Guys like that don’t come around often. It’s really an opportunity to just sit down and kind of just think about the little things in the coach’s office about how he handled certain situations, how he talked about kids and changing lives.
Salt was the same way. He was just a little bit different in how he approached things. He took a shot on a guy. He knew nothing about me. He wanted to make a change offensively and try to get to what people are doing now a days and I was a guy who just sat down and told him my passion and what I want to do and how I can help him in every aspect. We really built a great relationship. I owe him a lot for giving me a shot.”
Luquet clearly sees the position at Hahnville as the ultimate in the coaching business.
“This is the last stop for me,” Luquet said. “It’s about creating relationships with not only people inside that building but people in this district. There is no district like this district. It’s the best of the best. I have two young daughters who are going to go through this school system. I have a wife who’s a teacher in this school system. This is our home. It’s going to be home before I decide to go take more trips to the beach and retire. My family is excited.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…