Miami native Steve Batten has been named Palmetto Senior High athletic director, succeeding Yvette McKinney who announced her retirement earlier this year.
“Mr. Batten will transition Palmetto High into a new era of athletics,” said PHS principal Dr. Allison Harley. “Not only does he have extensive coaching experience and a winning tradition in a wide range of sports, he brings a deep commitment to our students and our program.”
Batten will oversee 28 varsity sports teams, 45 coaches and more than 750 student athletes. One priority will be to generate renewed excitement and engagement in the Palmetto athletic program while enhancing the overall fitness of his student athletes. Though he does not officially assume the role until next month, Batten is already leading a fundraising campaign with the school parent association to renovate the weight training center, and bring the latest equipment and CrossFit programs to students.
Batten brings more than 25 years of coaching experience to Palmetto. He began coaching high school sports as an undergraduate at the University of Florida, coaching football, basketball and softball at two local high schools to help fund his college expenses. After completing studies for his bachelor’s degree in physical education, he was hired in 1988 by Miami- Dade Public Schools to teach personal fitness and help coach football, soccer and softball at Homestead Senior High School. After 13 years at Homestead, he moved to Felix Varela Senior High in 2000, the year the school opened. He was tapped to create a softball program, coach football and serve as the head of physical education. He assembled and led a team of freshman girls to a stunning victory against Palmetto, his alma mater, and the 2006 softball district championship. Batten then returned to Palmetto as head softball coach and assistant football coach. He also served as an administrative assistant assigned to discipline and later became assistant athletic director.
Batten is known as an inspirational coach who turns around losing teams and consistently posts winning percentages. He has taken several teams to state competitions, including a varsity softball team that won the state championship in 2008. That same year, he was named The Miami Herald coach of the year in female sports.
“It’s not about titles and winning,” said Batten. “That just comes with being a part of a quality program. I’m more driven by bringing kids the excitement of being coached well and finding out how sports can make them a better person.”
Batten and his wife, Elizabeth, have three daughters, all dual-sport athletes and Palmetto High School graduates. He lives in the Redland area of Southwest Miami-Dade and enjoys hunting and fishing.