Eric Kasperowicz


Program Director - Mars

Eric is currently the head football coach of the 2017 Pennsylvania State Champion Pine-Richland Rams football team.  He has been the head football coach at Pine-Richland since 2013 and was previously at his alma mater North Hills for 11 years as an assistant.  

Eric is the only person in Pennsylvania Sports history to win a State Championship both as a player and as a head coach.  Eric is also a member of the WPIAL Hall of Fame.

Eric was a four-year starter at Quarterback and Safety for North Hills High School and led them to their first A.A.A.A. WPIAL and Pennsylvania State Championship.  He was named Parade All-American, Pennsylvania State AAAA Player of the Year, and was the Quarterback in the prestigious Big 33 All-Star game.  Coach Kasperowicz was highly recruited out of high school and chose the University of Pittsburgh where he was a four year letterman and two year starter at linebacker.  In 1998 he graduated with his Masters Degree in Arts in Teaching from Pitt.  Eric was recently bestowed with a great honor--voted the All-Time Greatest Player in Western Pennsylvania (WPIAL) history by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review beating out 100 years of NFL greats from the region like Mike Ditka, Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, and LaVar Arrington.  Eric is currently teaching health & physical education at North Hills High School and is also the Curriculum Leader there.  Eric is a golf, sports and outdoor enthusiast who was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area.  He is passionate about working with children and sharing with them his knowledge and many years of experience.  Eric also heads up the longest running football camp in the Pittsburgh area, ekfootballcamp, which is a non-contact, youth football camp that has been running for the past 23 years.  Eric is married to Jennifer, they have 3 children; Ella, Eric, Emlyn.  In his free time, he enjoys fishing, golfing and hanging out with his family. 

Mike Palano


Program Director - North Park


Mr. Michael Palano is a passionate teacher, family man, and leader of youth in the greater Pittsburgh area. Coach Palano has extensive experience coordinating and directing youth camps.  He has run various camps and clinics in the Pittsburgh area prior to running the NHJGA.  Coach Michael Palano is a graduate of Bishop Timon High School, Buffalo, NY where he enjoyed a successful athletic career.  During that time he was named to the 1st team All-State baseball team as an infielder and the All Western New York baseball and basketball team as a senior. One of his proudest moments was recently being elected to the Bishop Timon athletic Hall of Fame. After High School, Coach Palano attended Mercyhurst College on a baseball scholarship as a pitcher.  At Mercyhurst College he became an All-Conference pitcher and team captain. He still holds the innings pitched in one season record and is in the top ten in career earned run average.  Mr. Palano is currently a Business Education teacher at North Hills High School where he served as an Assistant Varsity Baseball coach for 10 years. Currently he is in his fifth year as an Assistant Varsity Baseball coach with the Seneca Valley baseball staff. Coach Palano believes in the core values of the NHJGA and is passionate about teaching the fundamentals of the game. He resides in Cranberry with his wife Marie, daughter Alivia, and sons Andrew and Matthew.


Samantha Smyers


Director of Golf Operations

  Samantha is the Varsity Women’s Golf Coach at Shaler Area High School, where one of her players advanced to the WPIAL Individual Championships and will be playing at the collegiate level. Currently, Samantha works for Shaler Area School District and has her Masters in Teaching from Waynesburg University. She is a volunteer with the Hearth Organization and is a member of the Hearth Golf Committee. Samantha is a graduate of Shaler Area High School, where she played on the men’s golf team for three years. During her senior year at Shaler, she was instrumental in creating the women’s golf program. She continued her golf career at Saint Francis University for her freshman and sophomore years. Samantha finished her undergraduate degree at La Roche College with a major in Political Science. In addition to golf, Samantha enjoys running, hiking and listening to music. 

John Brough


Certified Teaching Professional

 John is currently  the Head Boys' Varsity Golf Coach for the Shaler Area Golf Team.  Coach John is currently working towards his PGA Class A certification and has been a dedicated instructor of the NHJGA for many years.  

Steve Mayes


Certified Teaching Professional

Steve Mayes is a veteran golf coach and educator.  He is currently the Head Boys Golf Coach for the Seneca Vally School District and has been for the past 29 years.  He has led the Raiders to 5 WPIAL titles, 6 individual state qualifiers and countless WPIAL qualifiers.  In addition, Coach Mayes is a member of the USGA and West Penn Golf Association along with serving for five years on the Board of Directors for the Connoquenessing Country Club .  The experience and expertise that Coach Mayes brings to the North Hills Jr. Golf Academy is second to none.