Getting a job as a head football coach on the high school level is a dream come true for Ashton Cagnolatti.
The fact that he’ll be coaching his alma mater — St. John of Plaquemine — makes the dream even better for the 30-year-old Cagnolatti.
“I’ve talked to a lot of coaches who have told me there’s nothing like coaching at your alma mater,” Cagnolatti said. “And I can’t think of a better job to have.”
Cagnolatti was introduced as the new St. John coach on Wednesday. He spent the 2015 season as the defensive coordinator at Class 5A Thibodaux High. Cagnolatti played quarterback and defensive back for the Class 1A Eagles from 2000-2003.
It didn’t take long for Cagnolatti to start his coaching career after graduating from St. John in 2004. He started working as a student assistant at Houma’s Vandebilt Catholic while he was a student at Nicholls State.
After spending nine years as an assistant at VCHS, Cagnolatti moved to Brusly in 2014, where he coached under Willis. At St. John, Cagnolatti succeeds Oliver “Crickett” Crockett. SJHS won four of its final six games in 2015 to advance to the 1A playoffs. Crockett had an 11-22 over three seasons.
The announcement of Cagnolatti as head football coach also included an announcement that Chris Harrell is the school’s new athletic director.
Harrell also will continue to serve as head baseball coach and defensive coordinator. Cagnolatti will take over the offense and plans to a run a spread version of the Wing-T, similar to the offense Auburn uses.
“I’ve been away for 12 years and nothing like being at home,” Cagnolatti said. “My family is here and all my friends are here. I want to do is get the community involved and re-instill the passion the program had when I played.”