Holy Cross announces hires of Saltaformaggio, Hess, Barbay

  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
  • icon

Nick Saltaformaggio ’77 Named Head Football Coach
Ryan Hess ’95 Named Head Wrestling Coach
Roland Barbay ’82 to Join Football and Athletic Department Staff

NEW ORLEANS—Holy Cross School is pleased to announce the hiring of three alumni to join its athletic department next school year. Nick Saltaformaggio ’77 will serve as head football coach. Ryan Hess ’95 will become the school’s new head wrestling coach. In addition, Roland Barbay ’82 will join Holy Cross as a football coach and full-time member of the athletic department staff.

“During this difficult and unprecedented time in our history, I think we have all realized what is truly important in our lives. Family is the one constant above all else. And through darkness, comes the greatest of lights. The light of the Cross continues to shine bright and it serves as a beacon for us during times of uncertainty. We are honored that some of the most successful Holy Cross men have chosen to see that light, and follow it home.” said Sean Martin ’92, headmaster of Holy Cross School.

Nick Saltaformaggio is a 1977 graduate of Holy Cross School, where he was a Silver Medallion winner for school spirit. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where he was a college wrestler, and the University of South Alabama, where he received a Master of Science degree in athletic management. Saltaformaggio started his career as an assistant coach at L.W. Higgins and was head coach at Abbeville from 1987 to 1991. He went on to become an assistant and then head coach at St. Bernard High School, 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 relocated to Georgia where he served as head coach at Oconee County. In 2008 Saltaformaggio returned to Louisiana to take the head coaching job at East Jefferson, where he won a 4A state championship in 2013. In 2014, he became head coach at Hahnville High School and led his team to the state championship game in 2017, finishing state runner up. Holy Cross School has been a long-standing tradition in his family, with his father and three brothers all being graduates as well.

“In 1958 Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant left Texas A&M for the University of Alabama. A reporter asked him why and his response was: ‘Momma called, and when Momma calls you go home.’ Holy Cross is my home. Along with my wife and my parents, Holy Cross has molded me into the man that I am today. I am ready to work for her and make our football program and our school greater than anyone could dream it could be,” said Saltaformaggio.

Ryan Hess is a 1995 graduate of Holy Cross School, where he was a four-year letterman in chorus, three-year letterman in football, and four-year letterman in wrestling and was a team captain his sophomore through senior year. He has a 165-11 high school career record in wrestling, and had a 51-0 record his senior year. In College, Hess was a 2X NJCAA Regional Champion and National Qualifier at Colby College and then transferred to Wartburg College, where despite injuries, he was able to achieve NCAA All-American status his senior year and assisted his team in winning the NCAA DIII National Championship for the second time in school history. While in Iowa, Hess began his coaching career at Waverly Shell Rock High School, and he later returned to Louisiana, where he has assisted teams in capturing three state championships. His first head coaching position was with Belle Chasse High School, where he led the school to a third place finish his first year. He was head coach at Archbishop Rummel High School, finished second in the state tournament in 2004, and was voted The Times Picayune Metro Coach of the Year. After Hurricane Katrina hit, Hess’ team members scattered throughout the U.S.; nine starters became state finalists in several different states.

Coach Nicholas Michael ’12 will continue to share his talents with the wrestling program while he focuses on administrative duties at the school.

“I am especially excited about the opportunity to come home, back to Holy Cross! I am so grateful that Headmaster Sean Martin and Chief School Officer Eric Desormeaux are giving me this chance. I feel truly blessed and get to continue sharing my passion for this great sport. My passion is and will always be coaching. I have physically been away from the sport at this capacity for several years. However, I have lived in the background continuously supporting wrestlers and coaches all across the state who live the life style and live by the code, The Holy Cross Man. As a result of Hurricane Katrina, I personally feel I have some unfinished business to attend to. It will mean so much more to achieve my goal and bring THE Brother Melchior back home where he belongs, Holy Cross School,” said Hess.

Roland Barbay is a 1982 graduate of Holy Cross School, where he was a three-year starter as a defensive lineman. He was named All-District, All-City, and All-American, was the Catholic League MVP and a recipient of the Butch Duhe Memorial Award. He played for the LSU Tigers, where he was a three-year starter as a defensive lineman. He was named All-American his sophomore year and was All-SEC and All-American in 1985 and 1986. Barbay was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, where he played from 1987-1990. He was inducted into the Holy Cross Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

“I feel extremely blessed and very excited to have the opportunity to come home to Holy Cross,” Barbay said.

Barbay will use his athletic background and expertise to serve on the football coaching staff and will also be a member of the Holy Cross athletic department staff.

“The call to serve is deeply rooted within our mission. True Holy Cross men answer that call. They put personal agendas and accomplishments aside because that is what our founder Father Basil Moreau taught us to do. All three of these men are extremely successful, with flourishing careers. But they heard the call of the Cross, and they answered. We are grateful for their service and are excited they are coming home to work with their Holy Cross family,” said Martin.


  • < PREV Holy Cross tabs Hahnville's Nick Saltaformaggio as new head football coach, Hess as wrestling coach
  • NEXT > Saints By Position: Top 5 defensive ends in franchise history