UTM remembers Col. Bill Kaler


Col. Bill Kaler

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 on 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 athletic department under Ray Mears as an academic coordinator in September 1980.

Kaler was eventually promoted to assistant athletic director for compliance, providing education for NCAA and conference rules while monitoring the academic performances and eligibility of student-athletes. He was a vital member of the Skyhawk athletic department until March 2021.

Overall, Kaler worked under eight athletic directors at UT Martin – ensuring the departmental academic success as the program transitioned into the NCAA Division I ranks in 1992.

In 2014, Kaler became only the fourth athletics administrator to be enshrined into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame, joining James C. Henson (1984), Bettye Giles (1985) and Mears (1990) in that prestigious group.

A Bardwell, Ky. native, Kaler held degrees from Murray State and Troy. He is survived by his wife Shirley, three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.