• By: Marie Waine

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile: Kathy Shields

In honour of the recent Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Celebrations presented by Canadian Tire on October 22, OLM will be featuring inductees—recent and historic—in a weekly Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Profile piece.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame aims to share the stories and achievements of Honoured Members to inspire Canadians in all aspects of life.

Kathy Shields: Builder, Basketball

IMGP6062It is hard to believe only 50 years ago it was a rare sight to see a woman playing basketball. Then Kathy Shields came onto the scene and everything changed.

Shields has had an incredible career as an athlete and a coach in the sport of basketball, spanning over three decades. In a male-dominated sport, she persevered to make a difference for herself and her teams. Many of Shields’ former athletes have gone on to represent Canada internationally—something once thought as unimaginable.

Changing the landscape of Canadian women’s basketball, Shields has helped girls everywhere dreaming of sinking the winning basket in a game. Her coaching career includes Assistant Coach of the University of Victoria Vikettes, Head Coach with the University of Victoria Vikes, Assistant Coach with Team Canada and Head Coach for the Senior Women’s National Team. In each of these positions, Shields demanded the most from her team. She was known for holding practices that were often harder than games played.

This coaching style led Shields to earn multiple National titles and being awarded the Canada West Coach of the Year nine times! She taught passion, perseverance, dedication and determination. Shields truly believed ‘perfect practice made perfect’ and coached teams in using that perfect practice to work towards a common goal. With these skills, eight of Shields’ former athletes have become head coaches of university teams.

In 2001, Shields was diagnosed with breast cancer. But with her resilient work ethic, Shields did not slow down. She now uses her diagnosis to work with her coaching skills and counsels others going through breast cancer treatment.

There is no one more strong or suited than Kathy Shields to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.