Missy Kane Bemiller

Hall of Fame • Class of 2016

Missy (Alston) Kane grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated from Saint Cecilia Academy. Although she never played high school sports, upon entering the University of Tennessee in 1973, she walked on the newly formed Lady Vol cross country and track team. As a vital member of the squad, she later was named captain and earned her Undergraduate Degree in Physical Education from Tennessee.

After graduating from Tennessee she taught High School and coached Volleyball, Cross Country and Track for four years but found herself back at UT in 1982 to pursue her masters’ degree in exercise physiology. She jumped back on the track going to her first USA National Championship in 1983 and finishing 3rd in the 1500m. That summer she was 6th at the World University Games and won a Bronze medal in the Pan American Games in Venezuela.

1984 brought the USA Olympic Trials in Los Angeles. She had never dreamed of even going to the trials but after two rounds she found herself in the finals and ran her best time of 4:06 for the 1500m (4:25 equivalent for a mile). Missy finished as the first alternate and got a call a week later explaining that distance great Mary Decker decided to forgo the 1500m for the 3,000m meters and that Missy was on the U.S. team. She ran in the semifinals and missed the finals by one spot.

She returned to Tennessee Athletics, coaching cross country and track for four seasons and was named Southeastern Conference Cross-Country Coach of the Year in 1990, as her team won the SEC title and finished 6th in the NCAA Championships.

Locally, Missy won the Expo 10k in 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1987, and the Expo 5k in 1998. In 1986, her 16:17 time at Fireball was good not only for a win but a state record, a record that stood for almost thirty years! She also continued her excellence on the track, logging a 4:06.6 1500m, a 2:05 800m, and a 9:07 3000m. Her 16:07 won the Gatorade 5k, and her 33:18 was good for a top ten finish in the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans.

Professionally, she also worked for NBC television at WBIR in Knoxville for more than 12 years, and was the first female sports anchor in East Tennessee when she anchored weekend sports from 1990-91. She went on to work as a track and field TV commentator for Fox Sports for 19 years while covering the SEC indoor and outdoor track and field championships and worked for NBC sports at the 1987 Track and Field World Championships in Rome, Italy.

Missy has channeled her passion for people and fitness into helping thousands in the East Tennessee Region by developing numerous successful programs as the Health Promotions Coordinator for Covenant Health. “Get on Track”, “Get on the Trails with Missy and Friends”, and producing her PBS show, “Missy Kane Fit and Fun” are just a few of her successful initiatives. In 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Physical Fitness Award for her work in the East Tennessee community as she helped people gain better health through exercise. Her coaching advice has been featured in “Ask the Experts” in Runner’s World magazine.

Through “Get on Trails with Missy and Friends,” she has guided hikes on thousands of miles to encourage East Tennesseans to live a healthy lifestyle. Meanwhile, her work with Legacy Parks has helped raise awareness of and support for Knoxville greenways.

She was inducted into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, the Tennessee Lady Vol Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

All this is in addition to the countless hours she spends supporting local charities and community groups as a host, keynote speaker, and friend, supporting the phrase she’s become well known for repeating to anyone who will listen – life is more fun when you’re fit.

She is married to Jim Bemiller a professor at the University of Tennessee. They have two daughters, Kelsey Kane, a former Lady Vol track athlete, and Gracie Bemiller, a sophomore and standout swimmer at West High School.