Shields coaching legends to get honorary degrees

kathy shields

By UVic Communications

(ISN) – Ken and Kathy Shields, who coached Vikes men’s and women’s basketball teams to a combined 15 national championships, will receive honorary degrees from the University of Victoria at a special convocation ceremony on April 2.

“The Shields established an unprecedented standard of excellence during their careers at UVic with their unique ability to bring the best out of their student-athletes,” President Jamie Cassels said. “They put UVic on the map in terms of Canadian university athletics and their legacy continues to this day.”

Ken Shields came to UVic in 1976 as head coach of the Vikes men’s basketball program and athletic coordinator. His teams won a record seven consecutive Canadian titles from 1979 to 1985. He was named Canadian coach of the year four times. Recently retired NBA star Steve Nash—also a UVic honorary degree recipient—cited him as a key influence.

Few, if any, women in Canadian basketball have achieved the success and respect that Kathy Shields earned during her 23 seasons as head coach of the Vikes women’s basketball team.

She guided the Vikes to eight national titles and her teams recorded 320 wins and only 50 losses in league play during that period. She was named Canadian coach of the year on three occasions and she’s a past recipient of the 3M Coaching Award for Excellence.

“Ken and Kathy built incredible dynasties at UVic,” said Clint Hamilton, director of athletics and recreation. “For them to receive the university’s highest academic honour now is perfect timing, as we reflect on the McKinnon Gym era and look forward to this spring’s opening of the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities.”

At the international level, Ken Shields coached Canada’s national team from 1990 to 1994, taking them to within one win of qualifying for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and to a seventh place finish at the 1994 International Basketball Federation World Championships.

Kathy Shields coached Canada’s senior team to a seventh place finish at the 1994 world championships and served as an assistant coach at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, where the team placed fourth.

Both have been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and were inaugural members of the UVic Sports Hall of Fame.

Media who plan to attend the ceremony are asked to RVSP to Denise Helm in UVic Communications + Marketing by March 30 regarding access and details.