Bev Barnes’ teammates and friends speak fondly of her when they refer to her as a “basketball player, coach and lunatic”.
Bev, who passed away in 2016, was a cherished friend and teacher to many. Along the way she exhibited impressive athletic skills in many sports but particularly in basketball. After excelling as an athlete in high school (at both Comox and Gibsons, BC) she played J.V. basketball at UBC in 1969/70 then starred for four years with the Varsity Thunderbirds, 1970/71 through 73/74.
This was an era when UBC dominated in women’s basketball both provincially and nationally. In her first year, UBC, who also competed in the strong local Senior ‘A’ league, won the Western Canadian university championship. In 1971/72 Bev and her teammates powered UBC to the Canadian Championship winning the Bronze Baby while also winning the BC Senior ‘A’ title. In this university championship final game, a 74-69 victory over U. of New Brunswick, Bev led UBC scorers with 20 points. In 1972/73 the Blue & Gold again won the Canadian university championship with an impressive 24 – 1 overall record. Bev was a stalwart on this Hall of Fame team, a team that included several future Olympians.
Next season Bev became one of the very few basketball players to play on three consecutive national university champions as she along with her teammates led the ‘Birds to the 73/74 title and a third Bronze Baby.
During the summer of 1972 Bev made the Canadian National team coached by Darlene Currie. From ’72 through 1976 Bev played for Canada including the ’74 Pan Am Games and the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. At the same time, she had an extensive Senior ‘A’ basketball career starting with UBC in the league in 1970/71 through to the 1980s. With teams such as Vancouver Buzz Bombs, Horizons and Kirby’s Kutters she several times represented BC at the Canadian Championships winning the title in ’81. During the 1980s she toured the US with BC’s senior team.
Bev graduated from UBC with a degree in Kinesiology (1973) and a Masters degree in Education and taught at the Junior and Senior high school levels, retiring as Vice-Principal in 2009. Not only did she coach both girls and boys at her school for 25 years, but as an integral part of UBC basketball history, was a donor to UBC’s Women’s basketball program under the direction of coach Deb Huband.
Bev acknowledged the positive benefits of playing at a high level such as the Olympics and with Hall of Fame teams, but felt it was more important to be able to give back.
Written by Fred Hume, UBC 2017