Fred Cantler
Fred Cantler

CULLOWHEE – Dr. John Bardo, Chancellor of Western Carolina University, has named Fred Cantler Interim Director of Athletics as a national search begins to replace former Catamount Director of Athletics Jeff Compher, who is going to the University of Washington as executive associate director of athletics for the Huskies.

“Fred Cantler has served Western athletics very well in a number of roles for more than 26 years,” said Western Carolina Chancellor John W. Bardo, “I have great faith in his leadership and in his ability to keep the department moving forward while we proceed with a national search for a new athletics director.”

Most recently, Cantler served as senior associate athletics director for internal relations. In addition to being the department's compliance and eligibility officer since taking the post in 1996, Cantler has been extensively involved in Western's recent $15 million in completed, current and planned construction to Catamount facilities. He also played a key role in a recent self study of Western Carolina University's intercollegiate athletics program as part of the NCAA Division I certification process. The study is specifically examining academic integrity, governance, rules compliance, and university commitment to equity, student-athlete welfare and sportsmanship.

Other facets of Cantler's responsibilities include game-day management, scheduling and maintaining athletic facilities, serving as a liaison between the athletics department and other departments on campus, overseeing the training room and weight room, overseeing the athletics equipment staff and serving as the sport administrator for baseball, men's basketball and soccer.

During his time as a sport administrator, Cantler was part of the process which brought Debbie Hensley to Western, entrusting her with starting a soccer program in 1999 from scratch. Two years later, the soccer program won the 2001 Southern Conference championship, while finishing second in 2002. Hensley has since moved up in the department as Assistant Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator, while continuing to be the head soccer coach. Also, in 1999, Cantler helped bring former Catamount Todd Raleigh back to Cullowhee to lead the baseball program. Four years later, that program won both the 2003 SoCon regular season and tournament championships, while reaching the NCAA Wilson Region final.

Cantler also serves as the floor director for the Southern Conference men's basketball championship, serves on the Southern Conference officials committee and the Southern Conference men's basketball committee. Prior to moving to administration, Cantler served 18 years as the department's head athletic trainer.

Cantler is married to the former Katrina Hipp of Charlotte , who is a teacher at Sylva's Smoky Mountain High School. The couple have two children — Natalie, 18, who will be a freshman at Western this fall and Clay, 15.

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Last modified: Monday, July 12, 2004
Copyright 2004 by Western Carolina University