• 41°

PRC head football coach Collins one of five finalists for Hahnville, La. job

Pearl River Central head football coach Eric Collins leads his Blue Devils on to the practice field this past season. Collins has been named one of five finalists for the head coaching job at Hahnville, La. High School. Photo by Curtis Rockwell

Pearl River Central head football coach Eric Collins leads his Blue Devils on to the practice field this past season. Collins has been named one of five finalists for the head coaching job at Hahnville, La. High School.
Photo by Curtis Rockwell

Pearl River Central head football coach Eric Collins is one of five finalists for the same post at a power in Louisiana.

The St. Charles Parish School Board announced Tuesday afternoon that Collins, East Jefferson head coach Nick Saltaformaggio, John Ehret defensive backs coach Derek “Skip” LaMothe, Hahnville offensive line coach John Lambert and St. Charles Catholic defensive coordinator Wayne Stein are the finalists for the Hahnville High School head football coaching job.

Collins just completed his fourth season at the helm of the Blue Devils. He brought the Blue Devil program from the depths of despair to a perennial playoff contender over the past three seasons. When contacted Tuesday afternoon, Collins declined to comment.

He led Pearl River Central to two consecutive Class 5A South State championship games in 2011 and 2012, the only times in school history the football team has advanced that far in the playoffs. Collins is 27-21 at PRC over the past four seasons.

Collins has ties to South Louisiana. He was previously a head coach at both Chalmette High and Archbishop Hannan High. He left Chalmette to take the head coaching job at Tupelo High.

Lambert was previously a head coach at East Ascension. He was Hahnville’s offensive coordinator from 1999-2006 and has been the Tigers offensive line coach since 2010 Saltaformaggio, who has been East Jefferson’s coach for six seasons, was his defensive coordinator at both schools.

LaMothe is a former head coach at Landry and O.P. Walker High Schools. Stein has been St. Charles Catholic’s defensive coordinator for nine seasons but has never been a head coach.

Hahnville Principal Ken Oertling said the committee’s recommendation will be sent to the school board for approval at its Feb. 19 meeting.

He added the top candidate will be decided in “probably the next two weeks.” St. Charles Parish Public Schools Director of Public Information Stevie Crovetto said the effective hire date is March 10.

A seven-person search committee interviewed 14 applicants last week.

Fifty people applied for the position, which went vacant after longtime coach Lou Valdin resigned from the position Dec. 2, citing health reasons. Hahnville is a perennial power in the Louisiana prep football ranks.