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Fred Cantler Receives 2012 SoCon Distinguished Service Award

Western Carolina's 2012 Distinguished Service Award recipient, Mr. Fred Cantler.

May 28, 2012

Spartanburg, S.C. - Former Western Carolina associate director of athletics, Mr. Fred Q. Cantler, has been selected as one of the 12 recipients of the Southern Conference's 2012 Distinguished Service Awards.

Each member institution selects an honoree based on that person's contribution to the institution. Cantler and the other award winners will be honored for their contribution at the Southern Conference Honors Dinner in Asheville, N.C., on May 30.

Cantler joins precious WCU honorees in Kevin and Lynn Stanberry (2011); Steve White (2010); Norman A. West (2009); Ted Phillips, Jr., and Avis A. Phillips (2008); Tobe Childers (2007); Dale and Diane Hollifield (2006); Dr. Robert Failing (2005); John Larry Stanberry (2004); and Dr. Wallace N. Hyde (2003).

The Distinguished Service Award program was started in 2002 as a way for the Southern Conference to recognize individuals from its member institutions who have contributed to all aspects of the university. This year's 12 honorees include David Allen Vaughn (Appalachian State), John M. Rivers, Jr. (College of Charleston), Thomas R. Culler (The Citadel), William D. Vinson (Davidson), Cecil and JoAnna Worsley (Elon), James M. and Carol N. Ney (Furman), Richard T. Evans (Georgia Southern), Jim and Betty Allen (UNCG), Dr. Larry W. Cox (Samford), Dean and Mary Jane Heavener (Chattanooga), Fred Q. Cantler (Western Carolina) and Dr. Mack C. Poole, III and Dr. Melvin D. Medlock (Wofford).

Cantler devoted over 33 years in athletics administration at Western Carolina. He served as the senior associate athletic director for internal relations before retiring in March of 2011. In late October, Dr. David Belcher, Chancellor of the University, asked Cantler to serve as the interim director of athletics as the institution conducted a national search, where he served for just over two month before returning to retirement.

It was the second time in which Cantler had served as the interim athletic director at WCU. In 2004, former WCU chancellor Dr. John Bardo named Cantler to the position as the department looked to replace former AD, Jeff Compher.

In his role of senior associate athletic director for internal relations, Cantler was the primary sport supervisor for football, women's soccer, men's basketball and baseball. In addition, he served as the department's compliance and eligibility officer, a duty he held from 1995 until his retirement. He also was responsible for game-day management, scheduling and supervising the maintenance of athletics facilities, organizing and scheduling athletics summer camps, serving as a liaison between athletics and other departments on campus, and overseeing the training, weight and equipment rooms.

During his career as a sports administrator, Cantler helped develop the Catamount women's soccer program from scratch in 1999. Two years later in 2001, the program captured the first of its three Southern Conference tournament championships. Also, the Catamount baseball team won both the regular season and tournament titles in 2003 and won the regular season in 2007, advancing to the NCAA regional tournaments.

Cantler also served on the conference's official committee and the basketball tournament committee - serving for many seasons as the floor director at the championship tournament - along with numerous NCAA committees.

A 1978 graduate of Western Kentucky University, Cantler came to Western Carolina in August of that year as the department's athletic trainer - a position he held for 17 years before moving into athletics administration.

Cantler is married to the former Katrina Hipp of Charlotte, who is a teacher at Sylva's Smoky Mountain High School. The couple has two children - Natalie Cantler Canter and Clay Cantler - and a granddaughter, Emery.