By Kyle Beck
Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter is the new coach of the baseball team at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
The announcment was made by PBA President Lu Hardin and Athletic Director Bob White on Tuesday at a press conference in the Greene Complex.
Carter began his career in 1974 with the Montreal Expos and played there for ten years before becoming a member of the New York Mets, where he was a member of the 1986 World Series winning team.
Carter’s personal baseball accomplishments include being named to the All-Star team 11 times, selected MVP two times, as well as winning three Golden Glove Awards and five Silver Slugger Awards.
“He is a man of great character and a good Christian man, who will bring these young men not only great baseball statistics, but will help them become better Christians and to have a better life,” Hardin said.
Carter, who has been a resident of Palm Beach Gardens since 1982, believes that PBA is the right fit because of its Christian values, the close proximity to his family, and because of what his daughter Kimmy Bloemers, the head softball coach at PBA, has been able to accomplish.
“I want to do everything I can for this university to build up the best Division II baseball program in the country,” Carter said.
Carter’s baseball managerial journey began in 2003. He was named the Gulf Coast League Manager of the Year in 2005 and again for the Florida State League in 2006. He also won the Florida State League Championship in 2006 managing the St. Lucie Mets.
After his stint in Florida, he managed the Orange County Flyers to a championship in the Golden Baseball League of California and was once again named Manager of the Year. He made a return to New York last season managing the Long Island Ducks, but believes it was just a transitional period.
“To be back at home and to be with my lovely wife and my granddaughter of two months, it is an answered prayer,” Carter said.
Present Head Coach Rob Avila will assist Carter until June 1.
“[Carter] has a track record of success as player and manager during his career,” Avila said. “His experience and leadership will be a great asset for PBA.”
Carter admits he will be learning a lot about the program from Avila.
“He will be a great asset to the program as he has been in the past five years, and I will be bending his ear quite a bit because he knows the system,” Carter said of Avila. “He’s going to help me out tremendously.”
Carter’s main emphasis is to build the program into a winner. Even more importantly, he wants to help the team become better human beings.
“We will do everything we can to enhance the program, not only athletically but academically as well,” Carter said.
He believes a collegiate team will present different challenges than the minor league setting he is used to, but he is glad to be around a group of “hungry guys that want to play the game of baseball and want to learn. We’re going to be hungry and we’re going to win.”
“We look forward to many years of successful PBA baseball, and this will also enhance all of our athletic programs,” White said.