Former ND hoops star Ruth Riley named San Antonio Stars GM

ND Insider Staff
ND Insider

The San Antonio Stars of the WNBA announced on their website that former Notre Dame All-American Ruth Riley has been named General Manager.

She will assume the role immediately and be mentored in the position by current coach and GM Dan Hughes during the 2016 season.

Hughes will conclude his time with the franchise after the 2016 campaign, and will work alongside Riley to hire the new head coach of the Stars at the end of the WNBA season.

Riley, a 2001 Notre Dame graduate, led the Fighting Irish to the NCAA championship her senior season and went on to win two WNBA titles and an Olympic gold medal.

“We are fortunate to add Ruth Riley,'' Hughes said in a statement. "She is very bright, knows the women's game well and has a drive and passion to succeed. The future of the Stars is in good hands and I look forward to assisting her as she learns her new role.''

Former Notre Dame star Kayla McBride is a current member of the Stars.

“Ruth Riley is a great fit for the Stars,'' said R.C. Buford, President of Sports Franchises and San Antonio Spurs GM. "It's a wonderful opportunity to have Dan here to help Ruth learn the WNBA and we are very excited for the future of the Stars franchise under her leadership.”

Riley played 13 seasons in the WNBA before announcing her retirement in 2014. She won two championships with the Shock (2003, 2006) and was named the 2003 WNBA Finals MVP. Riley was selected fifth overall by the Miami Sol in the 2001 WNBA Draft and was voted to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2005 WNBA All-Star Game. Riley was traded to the Silver Stars in 2007, where she played five seasons from 2007-11 and earned the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award in 2011. Additionally, Riley earned an Olympic gold medal with USA Basketball at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Since her retirement, Riley has focused on initiatives off the court as an NBA Cares Ambassador. She is involved in Nothing But Nets, which is a global grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa. She is a national spokesperson for NoKidHungry, a campaign focused on ending child hunger in America, where one-in-five children are food insecure. Additionally, Riley co-founded Inspire Transformation, which takes a comprehensive approach to reducing the affects and instances of the AIDS pandemic in South Africa. She returned to Notre Dame to earn an Executive MBA degree from the top-ranked Mendoza College of Business and will graduate in May.

Riley played for the Fighting Irish from 1997-2001 and led Notre Dame to the 2001 NCAA Championship. She was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, Naismith Player of the Year, Big East Player of the Year and Academic All-American of the Year.

A two-time WNBA Coach of the Year (2001, 2007), Hughes has coached the most games in league history (490) in his 16 WNBA seasons and has the second most wins (230). In 15 years as a head coach – of the Charlotte Sting, the Cleveland Rockers and San Antonio – Hughes has led his teams to 10 playoff appearances, including one WNBA Finals. He is the only coach in WNBA history to take three different franchises to the playoffs. Hughes guided the 2008 Silver Stars to a 24-10 mark.

Notre Dame's Ruth Riley (right), here with Irish head coach Muffet McGraw, is confident the team's growing pains with its post play will evolve positively over the course of the season. (SBT File Photo)