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  • Writer's pictureCanada West

Kathy Shields (WBB | Coach)

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

NAME: Kathy Shields



SPORT: Women’s Basketball

YEARS ACTIVE: student-athlete (1970-1973); coach (1979-2001)


  • Eight-time national champion as coach of Victoria

  • 14-time Canada West champion

  • Three-time CIAU Coach of the Year (1980, 1992, 1999)

  • Nine-time Canada West Coach of the Year


Over her 23-year run as head coach of women’s basketball at the University of Victoria, Kathy Shields guided her teams to 14 Canada West titles and eight national championships, while compiling a 320-50 regular season record.

Shields was named CIAU Coach of the Year three times (1979-80, 1991-92, 1998-99) and received the Canada West Coach of the Year award nine times. She was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Jean-Marie de Koninck Coaching Excellence Award, presented by U SPORTS to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to university sport as demonstrated by long-term commitment and leadership as a coach at the local, provincial, national and/or international levels.

Eight of Shield’s former athletes and assistant coaches went on to be head coaches of university teams, while 21 of her athletes were named First or Second Team All-Canadians

From 1981 to 1994, Shields worked on the coaching staff of many Canadian national women’s teams that competed at major international events including the Pan Am Games, Goodwill Games, and the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She served as head coach when Canada won bronze at the 1993 FIBA Americas Championship, and led Canada to a seventh-place finish at the 1994 World Championships.

As a student-athlete, Shields played varsity basketball at UBC, helping the Thunderettes win the Canadian Senior Championship title in 1970, before attending Laurentian University, where she won back-to-back CIAU gold medals in 19 and 1976 as a member of Lady Vees. She played for Team Canada at the 1970 FIBA World Championship for Women, 1971 Pan American Games, and 1973 Summer Universiade.

Shields’ successful battle with breast cancer helped inspire the creation of 'Shoot for the Cure', which was launched by Rod Gilpin at Bishop's and has grown since 2007 into a cross-country campaign involving all U SPORS women’s basketball schools, Since its creation it has raised more than $1.25 million in the fight against cancer.

The Kathy Shields Award is presented annually to the U SPORTS Women's Basketball Rookie of the Year. Victoria’s basketball teams compete on the Ken and Kathy Shields Court, named in honour of Shields and her husband, legendary Vikes men’s head coach Ken.

In 2016, Shields was named to the Order of Canada, then promoted within the Order two years later, for her work on the basketball court as both a player and a coach, as well as her outspoken advocacy in advancing women in coaching. She also received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal in 2003.

Shields has been inducted into the University of Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, Laurentian University Hall of Fame, Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, Basketball Canada Hall of Fame, Basketball BC Hall of Fame as well as the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

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