Ruth Aitken took over the reigns of the Silver Ferns in December 2001. From there, she guided her team from strength to strength, culminating in a win against Australia in the 2003 World Cup Final. She was named 2003 Halberg Coach of the Year.
The 2003 World Cup final was not her first taste of World glory. Ruth is herself a former Silver Fern who played in the winning team at the 1979 World Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago, playing two warm-up games and then in one match against Ireland.
Prior to her role as coach of the Silver Ferns, Ruth spent time coaching the successful provincial Waikato side, which was a National Champs finalist for three years in a row taking back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000.
Before being appointed as Coach of the Silver Ferns, Ruth was also the coach of Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic National Bank Cup Franchise team from 1999-2001. Under her leadership, the Silver Ferns won the quadrennial Netball World Championships in 2003 and the 2006 Commonwealth Gold Medal and repeated the result in one of the best netball games in memory at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
In 2011, Ruth was named in the Queen's Birthday Honours List as an Officer in the New Zealand Order of Merit. In late 2011, she retired as coach of the national team - and was later replaced by assistant Waimarama Taumaunu.
In Dec 2012, it was announced she would take over as Technical Director and National Coach of Netball Singapore. She headed the National program for the National and development squads and under her, the National Team won their first South East Asia Games gold medal in 2015, instantly bringing national media attention to the sport and encouraging the Singapore Prime Minister and President to both attend the SEA Games final match.
In 2018, Ruth returned to New Zealand after being appointed co-Performance Manager (with Debbie Fuller) for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic.