MARTIN, TN – The University of Tennessee at Martin mourns the passing of Col. Bill Kaler, a 2014 inductee into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame who dedicated 46 years of service to campus. He was 88 years old.
After a 27-year career as a military officer, Kaler left the Pentagon for UT Martin in 1976. He was a professor of military science for four years and joined the athletics department under Ray Mears as a academic coordinator in September 1980.
Kaler was eventually promoted to assistant athletic director for compliance, providing training on NCAA and conference rules while monitoring student-athlete academic performance and eligibility. He was a core member of Skyhawk’s athletic department until March 2021.
Overall, Kaler worked under eight athletic directors at UT Martin — ensuring the department’s academic success as the program transitioned to NCAA Division I ranks in 1992.
In 2014, Kaler became the fourth athletics administrator to be inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame, joining James C. Henson (1984), Bettye Giles (1985), and Mears (1990) in this. prestigious group.
A native of Bardwell, Ky., Kaler was a graduate of Murray State and Troy. He is survived by his wife Shirley, three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday, November 15 from 4 to 7 p.m. and funeral services will be Wednesday, November 16 at White Ranson Funeral Home in Union City, Tennessee. The family requests that all former UT Martin student-athletes, coaches and staff members who can attend serve as honorary pallbearers.