Former Varsity Blues women's basketball coach Michèle Bélanger, who led the University of Toronto to more than 850 victories, has been inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame.
Described as a coaching icon by the Hall, Bélanger told CityNews she was shocked to be recognized alongside “true legends of the game.”
Other inductees recognized on July 10 include Steve Nash, two-time MVP of the NBA.
In 41 seasons as the head coach of the Varsity Blues women's basketball program, Bélanger led U of T to nine OUA championships and a national title in 1986. She finished 21 seasons with four or fewer regular season losses and was named OUA coach of the year eight times. Bélanger also coached for Canada at all levels of competition, serving as an assistant coach to Team Canada when they earned a program-best silver medal at the 2015 FISU Games, and leading Canada to a 13th place finish at the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade.
“There are a lot of young women that want to play the game and that are in love with this basketball game, which I think is great. You didn’t see that 30 years ago. You were the odd one out,” Bélanger told CityNews. “I want to see people coming back into the gyms and supporting these young women. They’re working so hard. Their skills are amazing.”