Ruth represented New Zealand at netball in 1979 and was the Silver Ferns coach from 2002-2011, leading the team to two Commonwealth Gold Medals (2006 and 2010) and the 2003 World Netball Championship title. Named Halberg Coach of the Year in 2003 and awarded the ONZM in 2011 for services to netball, she retired as the most capped international netball coach in the world with 112 test matches to her credit.
After her Silver Ferns retirement, Ruth spent three years in Singapore coaching the national team to Asian Netball Championships and South East Asian Games success. At the end of 2016, Ruth returned to her hometown of Paeroa, taking up the role of Performance Manager with Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty through to the end of 2019.
Ruth was a member of the International Netball Federation Coaching Advisory Panel from 2011 to 2014. In 2021, as well as receiving a Service Award from World Netball, she was made a Life Member of Netball New Zealand. In the 2022 Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours, Ruth was promoted to Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to netball.