Ron Thorsen is one of the finest basketball players to have played in British Columbia. Born in Hollister, California, Thorsen moved to Prince George in 1965. Playing high school basketball with Prince George Secondary School, Thorsen was twice named to the B.C. High School All-star Team. In 1966 he was selected as the most valuable player in B.C. high school basketball.
When Thorsen moved on to university athletics with the UBC Thunderbirds he continued to shine as a star. As a freshman he received the John Owen bursary. While playing for the varsity team, Thorsen was already considered to be one of the best guards in Canadian basketball.
In 1968-69 Thorsen played for the Thunderbirds and was noted for his brilliance on and off the court. The next year, 1969-70, saw the finest season ever in UBC basketball. Thorsen led the T-Birds to a perfect season, an undefeated 20-0. They swept both west and east divisions and captured the Canadian championship. Thorsen set records that year for the most points in a single game (48), points-per-game average (20.3), and points in one season (650).
The 1970-71 season was similar with Thorsen leading nearly every game in scoring. At the WCIAA finals, Thorsen was unanimously named to the Canadian All-star team by all the league’s ten teams.
1971-72 saw the Thunderbirds capture their second national championship in three years. Thorsen continued to set records with his play. His career points-per-game average (19.1) and his 2,059 career points would stand as records at UBC for 18 years. Thorsen was named the B.C. University Athlete of the Year and in 1972-73 Thorsen was selected to play on the Canadian National Team.
After graduating from UBC he continued to coach. He coached the women’s varsity basketball team to a 1973-74 Canadian championship. This was his third championship; two as a player and one as a coach.
As a player and captain for the Canadian National Team, Thorsen played at the Pan-Am Games, the World Championships and in pre-Olympic tournaments. He was selected to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and to the UBC Athletics Hall of Fame.
Thorsen is also credited with starting the CNC athletics program.