April 20, 2016
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Stars today announced that, per his request, the team has begun a succession plan for current head coach and general manager Dan Hughes. Ruth Riley has been named the Stars General Manager. She will assume the role immediately and will be mentored in the position by 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.
“I have truly enjoyed every moment of my 16 years in the WNBA but I reached a point personally and professionally where it’s time for a change,” said Hughes. “We are fortunate to add Ruth Riley. 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. I’m excited for my final season with the Stars and will be forever thankful to our players and coaches, the great employees at SS&E and our wonderful fans for all of the support my family and I have received here in San Antonio during the last decade.”
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, four Western Conference Finals and 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, earning the best record in the league, the franchise’s first Western Conference Championship and its first trip to the WNBA Finals.
Ruth Riley, a 2001 Notre Dame graduate who led the Fighting Irish to the NCAA championship her senior season and went on to win two WNBA titles and an Olympic gold medal and received the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s most prestigious honor, the Moose Krause Award in 2014 (pictured), has been named general manager of the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars.
“Spurs Sports & Entertainment is grateful to Dan Hughes for his 11 seasons at the helm of the San Antonio Stars. He is a pioneer in the women’s game and one of the most respected leaders in the WNBA. We fully support his decision to step away and we’re fortunate that he’ll be with us for one more season,” said R.C. Buford, President of Sports Franchises. “Ruth Riley is a great fit for the Stars. 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.
Riley played for the Fighting Irish from 1997-2001 and led Notre Dame to the 2001 NCAA Championship. She received numerous accolades her senior season including 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.
“Having played in San Antonio for five years, I know how committed the organization is to maintaining success through a values-based culture that is emblematic of this city. While my vantage point has now changed from the court to the stands, I still carry the same championship mentality, competitive spirit, and commitment to community that I had as a player to this new position in management,” said Riley. “It is such a luxury to have a legendary figure in the WNBA, Dan Hughes, as a resource and mentor. I am blessed to have played in a league that I love for 13 years and I look forward to this new role as the GM. I am thrilled to have the chance to return to the best organization in sports and a city that feels like home.”
Since her retirement, Riley has focused on initiatives off the court as an NBA Cares Ambassador as well as serving as a spokesperson for other organizations. 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 also returned to Notre Dame to earn an Executive MBA degree from the top-ranked Mendoza College of Business and will graduate in May.
For more information on the San Antonio Stars, visit SAStars.com.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, visit the main women’s basketball page on the University’s official athletics web site (UND.com/ndwbb), sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter and Instagram pages (@ndwbb), like the program on Facebook or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
— ND —