BC Sports Hall of Fame honours UBC greats

UBC Thunderbirds

Wilson Wong – With files from the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Fred Hume, UBC Thunderbirds Historian

September 20, 2013, Vancouver, BC (ISN) – Four ex-UBC Thunderbirds athletes and one former coach were enshrined in the BC Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night.

Swimmer Brent Hayden, rugby player Robert ‘Ro’ Hindson and basketball players/coaches Kathy and Ken Shields were honoured as part of the 2013 Banquet of Champions at the Vancouver Convention Centre Thursday night.

Former Thunderbirds swim coach Jack Kelso was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1965 Ocean Falls Amateur Swimming Club.

Hayden won the bronze medal in the men’s 100-metre freestyle race at the 2012 London Summer Olympics to cap off a storied career, in which he won five World Championships medals, including a shared 100m free gold in 2007, eight Commonwealth medals, and two CIS titles with UBC. He retired after the London Olympics as the Canadian record holder in the 50m, 100m, and 200m freestyle events, both short and long course.

For eighteen years, when rugby foes looked across the pitch at Canadian and BC teams they were faced with an imposing sight— towering 6-foot-5 Robert ‘Ro’ Hindson. Yet, Hindson was more than simply height. As one of the best all-round rugby players Canada has ever produced, he could beat you with power, agility, excellent ball skills with both hands and feet, and surprising speed. His unique skill set made him a dominant presence in both the 15-a-side and 7-a-side versions of the game. When Hindson retired in 1990, he had accumulated a record 31 international caps. Two of those caps were earned representing Canada against Ireland and Wales at the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

Twice, Hindson was selected for international matches overseas alongside players from some of the biggest rugby-playing nations on the planet. In 1974, the Irish Rugby Football Union selected Hindson to play for the Irish Wolfhounds in two matches and as a reserve in a third for the President’s XV against the full Ireland side. Few Canadian players had ever been recognized in this way previously. Thirteen years later, Hindson was the only Canadian player selected to play for South Pacific Barbarians on a tour of South Africa.

Both Kathy and Ken Shields were inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame as builders.

Kathy Shields (nee Williams) was a player on the 1969-70 UBC women’s basketball team that won the CIS championship and was co-coached by Ken Shields. Kathy went on to become one of the most successful coaches in Canadian university basketball. As the leader of the University of Victoria Vikes, she won eight national titles and 14 conference championships. In 1993, she was named the Canadian women’s national team head coach and promptly coached the squad to a seventh-place finish at the FIBA World Championships.

In 2008, Shields was made a member of the Order of British Columbia.

After finishing his career as a UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball player, Ken Shields immediately took up coaching and saw instant success. He co-coached the UBC women’s team to the national championship in 1970.

He was the bench boss at Laurentian University before moving to the University of Victoria in 1978. By the time he left in 1989, Shields had guided the Vikes to a streak of eight consecutive CIS championships. He won the CIS Coach of the Year Award four times, including once at Laurentian. Shields became coach of the senior men’s national team in 1990 and led Canada to a seventh-place finish at the FIBA World Championships in Toronto in 1994. He is a member of numerous halls of fame and is also a member of the Order of Canada.

Jack Kelso coached the UBC Thunderbirds swim teams from 1978 to 1990, winning two women’s national championships and building the foundation for what was to become the most successful program in all of CIS sports.

He grew up in Ocean Falls, B.C. and was part of the town’s legendary swim club. In 1965, the team of just four men and one woman captured the combined team trophy at the Canadian national swimming championships.

Kelso swam at the University of Denver, where he proceeded to set NCAA and world records and has the honour of being the first Canadian to win a US national collegiate title.

Kelso also swam for Canada, winning four medals at Commonwealth Games and two more at the Pan American Games while setting Canadian records in the 100 and 200-metre breaststroke, and the 400m Individual Medley in 1964.

The other nominees honoured on Thursday night were lacrosse player Kevin Alexander, golfer Dawn Coe-Jones, triathlete Peter Reid, hockey player Larry Kwong, television pioneer Larry Isaac and hockey coach Pat Quinn.


Scott Harrigan
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