After two years out of high school coaching, Benny Saia is back. The longtime Dutchtown High coach was hired as the new football coach at Ascension Catholic on Friday.
Saia served as football coach and athletic director at Dutchtown the first 15 years the school was open. He compiled a 110-55 record at the Ascension Parish School that has produced a string of NFL players that includes Eric Reid, Eddie Lacy, Landon Collins and Justin Reid.
“I’m happy to be back,” Saia said. “I missed it. Ascension Catholic is one of the schools I’ve had an eye on because I wanted to stay in a private school setting in this area.
“I started my coaching career at St. Edmund and Ascension Catholic reminds me a lot of St. Ed’s. It is similar school and has the same type of kids who come from more of a rural area.”
The 60-year-old Saia is currently teaching physical education at Hosanna Christian and said he join the ACHS staff full time next month after his current position is filled. Saia said he plans to meet with ACHS players Monday.
Saia is a former Tara High player whose local experience is not limited to just Dutchtown. He played on Tara's 1974 Class 4A title team and also has been a head coach locally at Catholic-Pointe Coupee, Tara and Woodlawn. Saia, who has coached 31 years on the high school level, also did a stint as head coach at Thibodaux High.
Ascension Catholic has finished as the LHSAA Division IV select runner-up the past two seasons and finished 12-2 this season. Drey Trosclair was relieved of his coaching duties at the Donaldsonville school last month.
“The thing I’ve missed the most is the planning and building part of coaching,” Saia said. “I like watching the kids grow and develop.”