Legendary Vikes women’s basketball coach Kathy Shields added another honour to her long list last week, as she was announced as one of 113 appointees to the Order of Canada.
The Order of Canada, established in 1967, is one of the country’s highest civilian honours and recognizes Canadians who have been high achievers in their fields, or have shown dedication or service to their community and country.
“When I was informed I was named a member of the Order of Canada I was tremendously surprised, proud and most of all humbled,” said Shields.
“I wish I could share this honour with all my wonderful teammates who I trained and competed with all over the world. As well, this recognition is a tribute to all the amazing young women I have had the privilege to coach.
“I have been fortunate to have had a multitude of coaching colleagues, assistants and mentors, especially my husband, Ken, who have helped me and shared with me, my passion, the wonderful sport of basketball,” she added. “I am truly honoured.”
The achievement is just the latest in a long line of recognitions for Shields, who is already a member of the Basketball Canada Hall of Fame, Basketball BC Hall of Fame, University of Victoria Sports Hall of Fame and Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame. She received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal in 2003 and was named to the Order of BC in 2008.
An accomplished athlete at UBC and Laurentian universities, Shields took over as head coach at UVic in 1979 and didn’t look back, leading her teams to 14 Canada West titles, eight CIAU/CIS national titles and a regular season record of 320-50. She was named Canada West Coach of the Year nine times and CIAU/CIS Coach of the Year twice and was called upon to coach on the international stage numerous times throughout her career.
Known for her knack for developing athletes, Shields had 21 athletes named First or Second Team All-Canadians and saw a number of her players graduate to the national program. She was the 2011 recipient of the Jean-Marie de Koninck Coaching Excellence Award.
In the fall of 2007, the Vikes men’s and women’s basketball teams played their first Shoot for the Cure event, an initiative that was launched as a result of Shields’ battle with breast cancer. It has since grown from a single event in Victoria to a cross-country CIS campaign
Other appointees on this year’s list include two Olympic medalists, Nathalie Lambert and Cassie Campbell, and the first Aboriginal to become lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, Graydon Nicholas.