Steve Campos resigns after 1 season as Pine-Richland football coach
Wednesday, December 22, 2021 | 4:58 PM
The Pine-Richland football coaching job is open for the second time in six months.
Steve Campos, who stepped into a heated controversy last summer to lead the team, resigned Wednesday after one season as head coach. Lingering health issues led to his decision, said Campos, who recently underwent knee replacement surgery and has a hip surgery in his future.
Campos said he didn’t want his unavailability to become a hindrance for the team.
“I just didn’t think I could be there for winter weightlifting and spring ball,” he said. “It was just a little too much, and I didn’t want those kids to go through what they’ve gone through in the past.”
Campos was hired in June to replace coach Eric Kasperowicz, who was controversially ousted after a school district investigation into allegations of hazing or bullying associated with the football program.
There were community protests last summer by students and parents wanting to keep Kasperowicz as coach, but once Campos was hired, he tried to keep the team’s focus on the field. The Rams lost their first three games but finished 7-5 overall and reached the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals.
“It was a volatile situation,” Campos said. “You’re not going to make everybody happy. My job was to keep the ship sailing. That’s what I did.”
Campos said he felt no pressure to resign.
Pine-Richland athletic director Joe Gironda confirmed Campos resigned and directed additional questions to a district spokesperson.
“The district will immediately begin the search and comprehensive selection process for the next head coach,” said Rachel Hathhorn, director of communications.
The district has already posted a notice online seeking applicants for the job.
“The new Pine-Richland coach will find full support from the administration and the board and will be afforded the opportunity to coach at a high-achieving school district with the resources and facilities necessary to succeed,” Hathhorn said. “The new coach will find incredible student-athletes and passion for the sport. No additional information about potential candidates will be provided until a recommendation is made for board consideration.”
It’s not known if Kasperowicz will reapply. He didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment.
Kasperowicz coached this fall as a volunteer assistant at Pitt, his college alma mater. His son, Eric Jr., was a freshman quarterback at Pine-Richland this past season.
The Rams went 85-18 with Kasperowicz as coach, winning four WPIAL titles and two state championships. He has denied hazing or bullying occurred in his eight seasons as coach and filed lawsuits against the school district for defamation.
The makeup of Pine-Richland’s school board changed in November when voters elected four new members. The school also changed athletic director. Gironda was hired in October to replace Thomas Salopek, who left Pine-Richland for an administration job at North Allegheny.
“We have a great team coming up,” Campos said. “We’re loaded next year. Whoever takes over, I’m sure they’re going to take the tradition and do a great job.”
Campos had coached football for decades before joining Pine-Richland, mostly at the college level. Among his previous jobs, he was head coach at Bethany College for nine seasons (1993-01). The 1976 New Brighton grad also had stints as a college assistant at Memphis State, IUP, Texas El Paso, Marietta, Cal (Pa.), Washington & Jefferson and Robert Morris.
His high school experience was limited. He was interim head coach at Ringgold for one season in 2006, while also the school’s athletic director. Campos was an assistant coach at Seneca Valley for nine years prior to accepting the Pine-Richland job.
Campos said he will coach again somewhere.
“There’s no doubt about it,” he said. “I’m either going to try to get back into college part-time or see what comes up. I have a little road (to recovery) in front of me. I’m excited to see what happens, but I have to take care of my health first.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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