Brett Bonnaffons has coached high school football throughout Louisiana. On Tuesday morning, he was named head coach at Pope John Paul II in Slidell.
Bonnaffons, 34, was the offensive coordinator at Helen Cox last year, and was head coach at Riverdale for two season before that. He also has held assistant coaching jobs at Desire Street Academy, West Jefferson, Catholic-New Iberia, Carroll, and Redemptorist.
Bonnaffons went to Holy Cross High School, and played football at Nicholls State University. He continued playing, and eventually earned his B.A. in History, at Truman State University in Missouri.
He said he first heard about Pope John Paul II High School while attending Holy Cross.
“My baseball coach (former Pope John Paul II and Holy Cross coach Greg Battistella) left to take the job at Pope John Paul,” Bonnaffons said. “He had nothing but good things to say about it way back then, as far as the community and the environment. And all the people I’ve talked to since -- I haven’t heard one negative thing about it.”
The Jaguars struggled to consecutive 1-9 records the past two seasons, and missed the Division III playoffs in 2015. Bonnaffons, however, said he sees a great deal of promise for 2016 and hopes to lead a turnaround of PJP II football.
“Even though there hasn’t been a lot of success the past two years, that’s because those teams were really young,” he said. “But looking at film, you could see the growth (as the season progressed.) This is an up-and-coming place.”
PJP II Athletic Director Mark Jeanmard said the school received and reviewed approximately 100 applications for its head football job, and officials felt Bonnaffons was the best fit.
“I feel that Brett brings a great deal of energy and organization to our football program and school,” he said. “The search committee interviewed him and could tell that he has a passion for working with student-athletes both on and off the field.”
Bonnaffons has connections to the school and the Slidell community (his parents relocated to Slidell from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and his nephew graduated from the school a few years ago.) Bonnaffons said he will continue to live in Algiers with his wife and two children, but he is looking forward to setting down roots at PJP II.
“The rising senior class has talent, and there are some good younger players too,” he said. “We can do some things. How quickly really is up to them, but I’m confident…And I’m excited about the opportunity. When I met the team this morning, it seems like they are too.”