Coach Kent Bottenfield begins his fifth full season leading the Palm Beach Atlantic baseball program and sixth overall in 2016-17 after being promoted to head coach during mid-season in 2012.
The Sailfish finished 21-28 in the 2016 season as the team battled injuries throughout the year. PBA took two of three against eventual 2016 South Region Runners-Up Delta State early in the season, winning the series on the road in Cleveland, Miss. The 'Fish were 15-9 midway through March but injuries to two of the top three hitters in the lineup derailed the season. Coach Bottenfield leaned on senior lefty Dominic Monda out of the bullpen as he led the team with a 6-2 record in 26 appearances. Monda posted a 2.31 ERA and saved six games, striking out 71 in just 50.2 innings. Sophomore slugger Kyle Simon led the team with nine home runs as the Sailfish belted 30 on the season, up from 20 in 2015.
Palm Beach Atlantic returned to the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) World Series for the first time since 2009 under Bottenfield's guidance in 2015. The team finished the season with a PBA Division II era record-tying 28 victories, including an NCCAA South Region championship and a berth in the NCCAA National semifinals. Under Coach Bottenfield's tutelage, second baseman Brian Walker became the first Sailfish to earn Daktronics All South Region First Team honors, as well as being named alongside Josh Turner as an NCCAA All-American.
The 2014 campaign was an injury-plagued season, with PBA finishing the year with 16 wins. The season's highlight came in a three-game series with perennial NCAA Division II power Delta State, with the Sailfish winning two of three.
In 2013 the 'Fish totaled 28 wins, which marked the highest total for the program since officially joining the NCAA ranks in 2008. The ‘Fish were also the only team in the country to earn a weekend series victory over the University of Tampa who would go on to win the NCAA Division II national championship. Coach Bottenfield was honored following the season by being named the Independent Collegiate Athletic Association (ICAA) Coach of the Year.
Under the direction of Bottenfield, senior pitcher Nic Kovacs would go on to earn All-Region accolades by numerous postseason publications and media outlets as well as being named the ICAA Pitcher of the Year. Junior catcher Joel Buchko earned NCCAA All-American first-team honors while also taking home ICAA Player of the Year honors for his good work behind the plate and with the bat. Freshman Sean Visconti was part of an impressive recruiting class by Bottenfield and his staff as Visconti earned ICAA Freshman of the Year accolades.
Bottenfield officially took the reins of the PBA program following the passing of former head coach and Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer Gary Carter, who passed away Feb. 16, 2012 after a nine-month battle with brain cancer.
Bottenfield has a diverse background in baseball, playing in the professional ranks for 16 seasons (1986-2001) including nine years at the major league level. His experience as a major league pitcher has been a tremendous benefit to the Sailfish pitching staff, while managing the day-to-day operations of the program.
Having spent his first season in the big leagues pitching to Carter while with the Montreal Expos in 1992, Bottenfield and Carter formed a bond that allowed the two to continue their work in the collegiate coaching ranks.
Bottenfield enjoyed his finest professional season in 1999 while pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals. There he was named to the National League All-Star team on his way to winning a career-high 18 games.
Following his breakout season, he was traded to the Anaheim Angels in a blockbuster trade that brought the Cardinals back an All-Star of their own in centerfielder Jim Edmonds.
Drafted in the fourth round by the Expos in the 1986 amateur draft out of James Madison High School in Portland, Ore., Bottenfield would find himself in West Palm Beach during the early portion of his minor league career as he pitched in the Instructional League.
After working his way up through the minor league ranks, Bottenfield made his major league debut on July 6, 1992, as starting pitcher for the Expos against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bottenfield was called back to the majors in September 1992 and had the unique distinction of being the last starting pitcher to throw to Carter in his final game as a starting catcher.
Following his time with the Expos, Bottenfield pitched for the Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cardinals, Angels and Philadelphia Phillies. He closed out his career with the Houston Astros in 2001. His final season was cut short when a shoulder injury sidelined him, forcing him into retirement from the game as a player.
With his playing career wrapped up, Bottenfield began pursuing his aspirations as a singer/songwriter. Settling near Nashville, Tenn., he released two contemporary Christian albums, Take Me Back (2004) and Back in the Game (2007).
Bottenfield and his wife, Pamela ’91, have three children, Emma, Eli and Lucy, and live in Jupiter, Fla.
BOTTENFIELD'S CAREER NUMBERS
Year by Year at Palm Beach Atlantic University
|2015||28-27-1||.509||N/A||N/A||NCCAA South Region Champions; NCCAA World Series|