Ruth Hunter moving into full-time role in Heat basketball operations, leaving broadcasting

·3 min read
Courtesy of the Miami Heat

Ruth Hunter is taking on a bigger role in the Miami Heat’s front office.

The Heat announced Monday that Hunter has been named the Senior Director of Team Development. She will be involved with player programs, analytics and basketball operations and report to general manager Andy Elisburg.

This promotion comes after Hunter was added to the Heat’s basketball operations department last offseason, when she was named the team’s basketball analytics and player programs manager while still remaining a part of the broadcast team.

Moving into a full-time basketball operations role this offseason means Hunter will need to step away from broadcasting. She spent the last four seasons serving as the Heat’s radio analyst on all home games as well as a television studio analyst for all home and road games.

This isn’t Hunter’s first experience as a basketball executive, as she also was the general manager of the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars from May 2016 until the team relocated to Las Vegas in the 2017-18 offseason.

Hunter, who turns 43 on Aug. 28, also spent 13 seasons playing in the WNBA. She was drafted by the Miami Sol, which folded in 2002 after three seasons, with the fifth overall pick in the WNBA’s 2001 draft.

Aside from the Sol, Hunter also played with the Detroit Shock, San Antonio Silver Stars, Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream during her 13-year WNBA. She is a two-time WNBA champion and also was on Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA championship team.

“Ruth Hunter has been part of the Heat family since the early 2000s when she played with the Miami Sol,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “The knowledge she has accumulated over the years, most notably having worked in the San Antonio front office, makes this one of the most significant hires we’ve made in a long time. We’re extremely happy to welcome her to Basketball Operations full-time and her new role in basketball development.”

Bally Sports Sun and the Heat now have two spots to fill this offseason on the broadcasting team after Hunter’s departure. Kristen Hewitt, who served as one of the Heat’s courtside reporters last season and has been a consistent presence on the team’s television broadcasts since 2006, recently announced her decision to step down from her position and leave television.

“During the last four seasons, Ruth rapidly developed into an invaluable and respected member of the broadcast team,” executive director of Heat broadcasting Ted Ballard said in a statement. “Her exceptional versatility, insightful perspective and unmatched dedication were exceeded only by the unquestioned quality of her character, which was on all levels inspiring. It remains a great honor and pleasure to call Ruth a colleague and friend, and we are thrilled that she will continue to be an impactful presence in this organization. Together with our broadcast partners, we will now embark on the process of evaluating and considering candidates to replace the roles Ruth filled so exceptionally.”

Shortly after the news was announced Monday, Hunter tweeted: “It has been an amazing 4 seasons calling Miami Heat games with our incredible broadcast crew, and now I am excited for this next chapter ahead in the Front Office!”