Hunter makes her return to Oregon State

Former Oregon State basketball player Deven Hunter cuts down a piece of the net after the Beavers defeated Cal by a score of 73-55 to clinch the Pac-12 Conference title on Feb. 28, 2015. Hunter will be returning to Oregon State as an assistant coach this season (Randy L. Rasmussen/ The Oregonian).

Deven Hunter played a pivotal role in helping build up the Oregon State women’s basketball team into one of the premier programs on the west coast. 

As a player from 2012-2016, Hunter helped the Beavers to two Pac-12 titles, three NCAA Tournament runs and a trip to the Final Four in 2016. The McNary High alum started in 132 of the 135 games she played in and finished her career fourth in school history with 893 rebounds. 

Now, Hunter will be look to continue the strong culture she helped create at Oregon State, this time as an assistant coach.

After spending time as an assistant coach at McNary and the University of San Diego, Hunter was officially named an assistant coach with the Oregon State women’s program last month. 

“It feels amazing to be back. I never really thought I would be back so soon to the place I used to play, but I am really excited,” Hunter said.  

Hunter will be working under head coach Scott Rueck, who has been in charge of the Beavers program since 2010 — Hunter was one of the first players he recruited.

“From the beginning of her time with the Beavers I knew Deven had the tools to be an outstanding coach. Her understanding of the game and overall savvy provides her the knowledge and awareness to be immediately impactful. Her passion for both people and the game are necessary qualities that put her over the top. As a player at Oregon State, Deven was a force on the court, made those around her better, and helped build this program into what it is today,” Rueck said. “Since her graduation, she has impressed me by consistently challenging herself, and finding opportunities to develop and grow as a person and a professional. The sky is the limit for Deven in our profession and I am excited to welcome her back home.”

After a standout career at McNary, Hunter enrolled at Oregon State in 2012 and was a part of one of the most successful classes in school history.

“I had an amazing experience at OSU. I loved being able to play in Corvallis, and so close to my hometown,” Hunter said. “It was really rocky my first year there, but our senior class had the goal of reaching the Final Four, and being able to accomplish that and check it off the list was incredible.”

Hunter played professionally for a season in both Puerto Rico and Finland before returning to Keizer, where she became a teacher’s assistant in special education and served as an assistant coach for the Celtics volleyball, girls basketball and track & field teams. It was at McNary where Hunter first developed her love of coaching. 

“It was great to go back to McNary and see all of those programs evolve,” Hunter said. “It really sparked my love of coaching.”

After the 2019 season, Hunter was offered a graduate assistant position at the University of San Diego. With her sister, Sydney, on the women’s basketball team, Hunter couldn’t pass up the offer.

“I got to work with amazing players and coaches in San Diego. And it was such a bonus to be able to coach my sister,” Hunter said. 

During Hunter’s tenure, San Diego had a record of 32-18 and made an appearance in the West Coast Conference Tournament championship game in 2020. San Diego players also earned a total of seven all-conference honors during her two years with the team. 

“I was super involved. I would help out with practices and did a lot of scouting and recruiting. I learned so much and I feel like it really prepared me for where I am at now,” Hunter said. 

Oregon State is coming off their seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance, and Hunter hopes to continue the tradition as she moves into her new role. 

“I am just really looking forward to being a part of Beaver Nation once again and returning to this amazing culture,” Hunter said. “I hope I can help get this program on a national level.”

Matt Rawlings: [email protected]