Tom Baier, Coach
Tom Baier coached multiple sports for 40 years during his tenure at North Hills. While teaching English for 37 years, he held multiple varsity head coaching positions in the sports of cross country, basketball, track and field and had many victories over the years.
Tom began coaching at North Hills in 1971 as a ninth grade boys basketball coach. Following the 1975 season, he became the boys basketball JV and assistant varsity coach in charge of defense. He was head coach of the boys basketball team for the 1983-84 season and returned the following year as the assistant head coach, a position he held until he retired from coaching basketball following the 1994 season.
Mr. Baier began to coach varsity track and field as an assistant in 1984. In 1988, he became the head coach of the boys and girls varsity track and field teams. Tom coordinated with the district’s planning team for the construction of the Martorelli track and field complex. He remained as track and field head coach until he retired in 2011.
In 1992, he became an assistant cross country coach in charge of developing a girls’ team.
After running one season as an exhibition team, the team was accepted into Section 3 of the WPIAL. He became Head coach of the girls varsity cross country team in 1994. He retired after the team’s WPIAL Championship winning season in 2010.
Tom resides in Ross Township with his wife, Diana.
Tom Bell, Class of 1996
Tom Bell was a two sport athlete at North Hills, participating in football and baseball. He was a two-year starter for the North Hills varsity football team and an All-Conference player both his junior and senior year. Mr. Bell was a member of the 1993 WPIAL and PIAA Quad A Championship Football Team and team captain his senior year.
Tom was recruited by Slippery Rock University and became a four-year starter on the offensive line and three-year PSAC West Division All-Conference First Team selection as an offensive guard.
Tom also was named to the first team All-Northeast Region First Team as an Offensive Lineman and was named to the Division II All-American Team.
Tom currently resides in York, Pennsylvania, with his wife April and two children, Addison and Ashton. He is a high school physical education teacher and a varsity assistant football coach.
Dawn (Jones) Bowser, Class of 1991 (posthumous)
Dawn (Jones) Bowser was a two-sport athlete at North Hills, participating in the sports of swimming and volleyball. Dawn was a key swimmer for North Hills and a member of the 200 medley relay that finished in first place at the WPIAL championship and PIAA championship.
Mrs. Bowser won first place in the 200 freestyle at the WPIAL championship and went on to Clarion University where she was an All-American.
Dawn's memory lives on today with her family and friends. She is survived by her husband Tom and three children.
Debbie (Jones) Wittig, Class of 1991
Debbie Wittig was a two-sport athlete. She participated in the sports of swimming and Volleyball. She was a member of the 200 medley relay that finished in first place at the WPIAL Championship and also first place at the PIAA championship.
Mrs.Wittig also won first place in the 50 and 100 Freestyle races at the WPIAL Championships and went on to swim at Clarion University.
Mrs. Wittig resides in the North Hills with her family.
Abigail O'Connell, Class of 2012
Abby O’Connell was a three sport athlete, participating in track and field, basketball and soccer. She lettered all four years on the soccer and track and field teams, and broke the 400 Meter North Hills school record in 2010 and was a four-year state qualifier, finishing in the top eight all four years.
Abby earned a full athletic scholarship for track to Duquesne University. At Duquesne, she broke school records in the 400 and 4x400 relay, won five Atlantic 10 Conference medals and was a three-year ECAC qualifier.
Ms. O’Connell currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Juris Silenieks, Class of 2011
Juris Silenieks was a two-sport athlete who participated in cross country and track and field. He is a six-time WPIAL medalist, a three-time PIAA State medalist and was a member of the historic North Hills 1-2-3 sweep at the 2010 WPIAL Cross Country Championship.
Juris went on to Syracuse University where he was a member of the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championship team and three ACC Championship teams.
Juris continued his career as a professional runner and includes wins in the 2019 Detroit Half-Marathon, the 2019 Airforce Marathon, and a fourth place finish in the 2018 Philadelphia Marathon.
Mr. Silenieks recently qualified for the 2020 US Olympic Trials in the Marathon. He currently resides in the North Hills.