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Ken and Kathy Shields, a coaching courtship

In 1891 at a YMCA Training School in Springfield, Mass., a Canadian athletic instructor invented a simple game involving a ball tossed into a peach basket. It would take nearly a century for basketball to gain worldwide prominence and develop its own culture, fashion and vibe. Along the way, Canadians have played a huge role in popularizing the sport, on the street, in gyms and in the professional ranks.

He's driven, she's encouraging, and they're both highly successful basketball coaches who just happen to be husband and wife. Individually, they have led their respective University of Victoria teams to 15 national titles. Despite all these winning highs, it's the lows that have brought them together. In 1992, the Ken Shields-coached men's national team lost to Venezuela with an Olympic berth on the line. "That game was probably the most difficult experience I've had in my life as a coach," he says. Kathy was there when it happened and admits the defeat was painful. The toughest part, she explains was that she had "no control, no involvement, except for to sit and watch." In this 1994 report from CBC-TV's The Score, the Shields' reflect on that game and discuss the pervasive funding problems that plague amateur basketball in Canada.
• Ken Shields is the most successful coach in the history of Canadian university men's basketball. He led the University of Victoria Vikes to seven consecutive championships from 1980 to 1986. He has also coached at the University of British Columbia and Laurentian University. Shields was named coach of the year four times: in 1975, 1979, 1982 and 1983.
  • Shields received the James Naismith Award in 2007, given annually to a person who has made a significant lifelong contribution to basketball in Canada.

• He began coaching with the national team in 1981 and was head coach of the national junior men's team for the world championships in 1983 and 1987. Shields was head coach of the senior men's team from 1988 to 1994 and led them to a seventh place finish at the world championships in Toronto in 1994.

• Ken Shields was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1998. He was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

• He worked as a guest coaching consultant with the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2006 NBA playoffs.

• Kathy Shields was the basketball coach at the University of Victoria from 1978 to 2001, compiling a won-loss mark of 320 wins and 50 losses, for a winning percentage of .865. She led the Vikes to eight CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) championships and 14 Canada West titles.

• Shields' accolades include being named Canada West coach of the Year eight times and CIS coach of the year on three occasions. In 1999-2000 she received the 3M Coaching Award for Excellence.

• Shields is a member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the University of Victoria Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame. The CIS women's basketball rookie of the year award is named in her honour. In 2008 she was made a member of the Order of British Columbia.

• At the international coaching level, Shields was an assistant with the senior women's national team from 1981-84 and was a staff member of the 1984 Olympic squad, which placed fourth in Los Angeles. She was the head coach of the junior women's national team in 1986 and resumed her role as assistant coach with the senior women's national team from 1989-92. In 1993, Shields was named head coach of the senior women's national team, and led them to a seventh place finish at the FIBA World Championship in Sydney, Australia.

• In 2001 Shields took temporary leave from her coaching duties at the university due to medical conditions, which forced her to step down permanently in 2005. After a successful treatment for breast cancer, she was diagnosed with osteoporosis of the spine, which led to two spinal fractures. 

Medium: Television
Program: The Score
Broadcast Date: April 23, 1994
Guest(s): Kathy Shields, Ken Shields
Reporter: Allison Griffiths
Duration: 6:42

Last updated: January 30, 2013

Page consulted on October 4, 2013

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