Shirley Ann Topley was a rare and genuine multi-sport athlete and coach whose accomplishments in basketball, softball, and field hockey were as inspiring inspiring during her career as they are today. She competed for Canada internationally in all three sports before moving to California to pursue a career in softball.

In basketball, she won ten national championships in the 1950s and early 1960s as a member of the Vancouver Eilers and Richmond Merchants women’s basketball teams. As a member of the 1954-55 Eilers, Topley’s name is already listed in the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

In field hockey, Topley was the centre half on the Canadian team which toured Australia in the late 1950s and she was one of only a few to play key offensive and defensive positions on the team. In 1956, she represented Canada in both basketball and field hockey at the World Games.

However, Topley has acquired the most honours in softball. She was named “All American First Base” in 1961, an honour she would repeat an astounding eleven times. As a coach, her most rewarding event was the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta–the first Olympics where softball was recognized as an official Olympic sport–where she was assistant coach on the gold medal-winning American team.

Topley was on the US coaching staff from 1990 onwards and her coaching success continued. She served on the nine-member women’s softball team coaching staff for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The US team defended its Olympic softball title winning the gold medal once again.