Palm Beach Atlantic University Interim President William M.B. Fleming Jr. and Director of Athletics Carolyn Stone announced on Thursday the appointment of Kent Bottenfield as the University's next head baseball coach. Hired in August to serve as the associate head coach to Major League Baseball (MLB) Hall-of-Famer Gary Carter, Bottenfield has assumed the top leadership role of the baseball program this season with the prolonged illness of Carter and his eventual passing.
Carter was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in May 2011 and following a nearly nine-month battle involving intense medical treatments, he passed away on Feb. 16, 2012.
A former teammate of Carter’s when the two played together for the Montreal Expos, Bottenfield had the unique privilege of pitching to Carter as his catcher in what would be Carter’s final Major League game on Sept. 27, 1992. Bottenfield would go on to pitch nine seasons in the Major Leagues including an All-Star appearance in 1999 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Adding a second All-Star to the PBA baseball coaching staff with Bottenfield’s initial hire continues to point to the bright future of the program moving forward, according to Interim President Fleming.
“Coach Bottenfield is a man of great integrity, humility and baseball knowledge,” Interim President Fleming said. “He will carry on the legacy of Hall of Fame Coach Gary Carter and mold our baseball players into men of faith with a strong competitive spirit. Kent's roots go deep into this community. We welcome this All-Star person and former MLB player as our head baseball coach.”
Initially taking the position at PBA to work alongside his friend and former teammate, Bottenfield appears primed and ready to take on his newest challenge.
“Coming on the heels of a very tough time for the program, I feel honored that the University has placed their trust in me to carry on the great work that Coach Carter was doing with the program,” said Bottenfield.
“It will continue to be important for our current players to understand that you can be a strong man of faith and be an exceptional student-athlete at the same time,” continued Bottenfield.
Carter remained involved with the program throughout the fall as Bottenfield began to run the day-to-day operations of the program during its offseason.
Opening night for the Sailfish team came on Feb. 2, 2012, when Carter made his last public appearance as he spoke to his team before the game and received a standing ovation from the crowd on hand at Roger Dean Stadium. The Sailfish would go on to win in dramatic fashion with a walk-off single in the ninth inning against Palm Beach County rival Lynn University by a score of 3-2.
The appointment of Bottenfield as head coach of the Palm Beach Atlantic program is just the latest challenge for the former Major Leaguer.
After pitching in the professional ranks for 16 seasons, Bottenfield moved on to a new career as a recording artist and released two albums in the genre of Christian contemporary music.
Married to his wife, Pamela, a 1991 Palm Beach Atlantic graduate and a Palm Beach Gardens native, the couple has three children: Emma, Eli and Lucy.