King and queen of Canadian university basketball have their court

Ken and Kathy Shields

Ken and Kathy Shields.

By Pete Lewis

January 20 was a day to remember for the University of Victoria and the Department of Athletics and Recreation, as centre court in the McKinnon Gymnasium was officially named Ken and Kathy Shields Court.

The honour was bestowed upon the long-time UVic coaches for their exceptional contribution to Vikes athletics, the university and basketball in Canada. Combined, the couple coached 35 seasons at the university and captured 15 Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships.

It is a fitting tribute for the pair, as their teams owned the hardwood in McKinnon, as is evidenced by their win-loss record. Over 22 years, Kathy’s teams picked up 183 home-court victories, while losing just 12 times. Ken’s record is just as outstanding with his squads winning 98 home games and losing only seven in his 13 seasons. Their overall records were just as outstanding as Kathy amassed 337 regular-season wins against 55 losses and Ken at 167 and 23.

The event was held between the women’s and men’s basketball games that evening. The ceremony began with Ken and Kathy being marched out onto the court through the honour-guard of more than 50 former Vikes players, assistant coaches and trainers. With more than 2,500 cheering fans on their feet, the Shieldses removed the cloth cover off centre court to reveal the freshly painted Ken and Kathy Shields Court logo.

In their address to the crowd, both were quick to point out that their success was due to their players’ hard work and commitment to excellence. Kathy spoke directly to their former players and said, “It is your sweat, your tears, and your blood that are represented in our names on this court.”

The ceremony was capped off with a banner raising commemorating the day and a presentation to Ken and Kathy of an exact replica of Ken and Kathy Shields Court.
Earlier in the day, a fundraising luncheon was held at the Harbour Towers Hotel and Suites. All proceeds from the sold-out event go to the Ken and Kathy Shields Basketball Award, which provides financial assistance for student-athletes with the Vikes basketball program.

The luncheon crowd of 250 heard tributes from former players, coaches and the likes of Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns), Donn Nelson (Dallas Mavericks) and Del Harris (Dallas Mavericks). The highlight of the afternoon was a video presented to Ken and Kathy by A-Channel Vancouver Island. The emotional tribute had the whole house in tears as it walked the crowd through their careers as coaches. he tears were a strong sign of the impact that Ken and Kathy had on many as coaches, role models and mentors and of the legacy they have left for the university and Vikes athletics.

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