The University of Winnipeg



Basketball builder Victor Pruden honoured with Distinguished Alumni Award

Victor Pruden in front of a red background.

Victor Pruden

Vic Pruden, an innovator in the realm of basketball, is not merely a player and coach but a true champion and builder of the sport of basketball. His illustrious career spans over 60 years, many of which directly impacted students, players, and coaches in the University of Winnipeg athletic program.  

Vic graduated from United College in 1958. However, his coaching career began in 1953, when he coached the Varsity Girls Basketball team at Isaac Newton High School. In 1966, he made history when he transitioned to university level basketball and started the first intercollegiate men’s program at United College; later becoming The University of Winnipeg in 1967. 

In 1967, Vic founded the Golden Boy Tournament, a groundbreaking university invitational tournament that would eventually become the Wesmen Classic. This tournament, hosted by the University of Winnipeg attracts teams from across North America and crowds in the thousands. To date, the Wesmen Classic is the longest running UWinnipeg sporting tradition.  

In 1972, he started the varsity women’s basketball program at UWinnipeg.  

His coaching style and personal influence was felt long after players left the court. He believed that education should include both academics and athletics, and it was this that guided his career.  

In 1987, he authored “A Conceptual Approach to Basketball” sharing his expertise of the game. His dedication to the sport has inspired a generation of coaches at both the high school and university levels.  

Described as an innovator and leader, Vic was also a founder and organizer of The Fort Garry Invitational Tournament (F.G.I.T.), the University of Winnipeg Summer Basketball School and the Royal Canadian Legion Basketball Camp at the Peace Gardens. He was instrumental in the planning and coordinating of the Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum at The University of Winnipeg. 

In 1968, he was part of a group of coaches who founded the Manitoba Basketball Coaches Association, where he was named the first president. Vic was inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame (Builder, 1994), Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (Builder, 2004) and named the Ukrainian Sportsman of the Year (2013). 

The University of Winnipeg Alumni Association is proud to recognize Victor (Vic) Pruden as the recipient of its highest honour, the Distinguished Alumni Award.  

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