UBC Sports Hall of Fame

Sandy Robertson

Sandy Robertson

  • Class
  • Induction
  • Sport(s)

One of the UBC basketball's greats and one of BC's best all-around athletes. Was a record-setting player on some of UBC's best basketball teams. Played UBC soccer and cricket and after graduation, played pro baseball, later becoming a BC and West Coast squash champion.

Sandy Robertson entered UBC in 1942 after a fine athletic career at Kitsilano High School in Vancouver, BC. As a freshman he made the 1942/43 Thunderbird basketball squad where he teamed with fellow future stars Ole Bakken, Harry Kermode and Harry Franklin. Robertson immediately assumed the role of top scorer on this powerful Maury Van Vliet-coached team. "Sandy Flips 18 Points To Take Lauries 47-31" and "He played the whole game and was easily the best man on the floor..." described Sandy's play in 1942/43. He was the only Varsity player to make the All-Star team this year and won the Art Willoughby Memorial trophy as the Most Outstanding Rookie of the Year. In the 1943 Provincial final in Victoria, BC, Robertson led UBC in its only victory in the series outscoring the acknowledged finest basketball player in the country, Norm Baker, 18 points to 7.

The 1943/44 session opened with Sandy playing for UBC's Varsity soccer team, scoring the winning goal in their opening 2-1 victory. At the same time Robertson was starring on an ever-improving UBC Thunderbird basketball team. For the second season in a row, Robertson was the UBC Thunderbird’s leading scorer.

During the summer of 1944, while starring as a local baseball pitcher, Sandy played cricket for the UBC Varsity XI. This team surprised everyone including itself by winning the league championship and the Gardiner Johnson Shield.

During the 1944/45 session Robertson again was an inspiring member of the Thunderbirds soccer team, as well as an integral member of the UBC basketball team. In the season's first basketball game Sandy was a little off form as he had played an outstanding soccer game for the UBC Thunderbirds that very afternoon. However, Robertson went on to have a fabulous season on the court, winning the league scoring title and topping the UBC Thunderbirds scorers for the third year in a row. He also established a new UBC scoring record with an average of 14.5 points per game, eclipsing the past prolific scoring feats of Jim Bardsley, Bob Osborne and Pat Flynn. In UBC's final game of the 1944/45 season in which they were crowned City and Provincial champions, Robertson established a new UBC single game scoring record "tossing the melon through the hemp" for 27 points.

In addition to his Varsity sports, Sandy was active in intramural athletics. He was instrumental in leading Kappa Sigma to two intramural overall championships, including quarterbacking them to touch football titles in 1945 and 1946, a "one-man offensive" according to the Ubyssey.

In May of 1945 Robertson was signed by the Boston Red Sox after several successful seasons in the City Senior Baseball league. Robertson pitched professionally during the following summers reaching as high as Triple A, and in 1951 with the Vancouver Capilanos of the Western International League, set a team record recording 12 consecutive victories.

Robertson was chosen as Vancouver's outstanding athlete of 1945 and was presented with a trophy donated by the Vancouver News-Herald. After a dinner and presentation at the Hotel Georgia, Sandy hastened to the UBC gym where he promptly sank 22 points to lead UBC to an 82-63 win over Washington's Whidby Island Navy.

In 1945/46, defending scoring champ Robertson returned to the powerful UBC basketball team for his final and most successful year. On a team that won the U.S. Pacific Northwest Conference title and defeated such teams as the University of Oregon, Washington State, University of Washington and the Harlem Globetrotters, Robertson was again the scoring star. He established five new UBC records; most points in one season (475), most field goals in one season (199), most points in one game (40), best points per game average (15.4) and most career points (1,173).

Robertson could also play defense. In UBC's famous victory over the Globetrotters in 1946, "Robertson played a bang-up defensive game for the 'Birds,” stated game reports, further indication that Robertson was the best basketball player to date to wear the Blue & Gold.

Robertson graduated with a Civil Engineering degree in 1946 and continued to be a local All-Star basketball player starring on five Canadian champion teams while playing pro baseball during the summer. At the conclusion of these two careers he went on to become an outstanding squash player. Between 1962 and 1971 he held 21 individual Pacific Northwest squash titles. He was BC squash champion in 1963 and again in 1965, and in 1968 was ranked as the third best player in Canada. In 1964 he became the first Canadian to win the Pacific Coast Squash Championship.

Sandy Robertson was truly a special UBC and BC athlete, in later life committed to improving the quality of life of the people of Vancouver and the province.

This Inductee is also in the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

Researched and written by Fred Hume, UBC Athletics Historian