A native of Red Springs, Coleman served as town manager in Pittsboro and Southern Pines and as Chatham County manager before becoming Cary's assistant town manager in 1988. He was named manager in Cary six years later.
He served as Cary's chief executive until 2008, when he took a job at SAS Institute, helping the software company devise and implement programs for governmental offices.
“Our hearts are heavy as we grieve the passing of Bill Coleman, a wonderful man and outstanding public servant," Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said in a statement. "We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to him for leading town staff in helping create the Cary we love today by expertly and tirelessly bringing to reality the council’s vision for this great place he and we call home.
"Truly, Bill was a unique man, a real force of nature for all that he loved, from his son, Ben, to baseball to friends and fun, and, of course, the very, very best in local government,” Weinbrecht said.
Coleman was instrumental in USA Baseball's relocation to the Triangle in 2003 and the creation of the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary four years later. A field at the complex is named for him.
"Bill Coleman, with his vision and love of baseball and his community, was at the forefront of welcoming USA Baseball to the Town of Cary 10 years ago,” Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director and chief executive, said in a statement. “We will always consider Bill a member of our team, and our deepest sympathies go out to his son, Ben, and the entire family.”
Funeral arrangements aren't complete.