Longtime Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder retires

    After a remarkable coaching career that resulted in 884 career victories and two national runner-up finishes, Iowa women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder announced her retirement on Monday.  

    “It has been the honor of my career to be a part of the Iowa Hawkeye family, and to lead a women’s basketball program filled with so many talented and remarkable young women, who have gone on to great things in their careers and, more importantly, in their lives,” Bluder said in a letter posted via X.

    Bluder began her head coaching career at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, leading the Fighting Bees to two NAIA Final Fours and 169 victories over six seasons. In 1990, she moved over to nearby Drake University, where she piloted the Bulldogs to four NCAA Tournament appearances over her final five seasons. 

    Bluder came to Iowa in 2000 as, despite a winning tradition, it was coming off back-to-back seasons without an NCAA Tournament berth. Bluder promptly ended that in her first year, as the Hawkeyes captured the 2001 Big Ten Tournament championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

    Consistent success followed Bluder and Iowa over the next decade, but the Hawkeyes really hit their stride from 2018-2024, which featured the rise of superstars Megan Gustafson and Caitlin Clark. Gustafson led the team to the 2019 Elite Eight, and the stardom of Clark resulted in back-to-back national championship game appearances in 2023 and 2024. 

    Longtime associate head coach Jan Jensen was tabbed as Bluder’s replacement. Jensen previously served as an assistant coach under Bluder for the entirety of her Iowa tenure, and also played for Bluder for one season at Drake. 

    “I am now beyond elated to begin my new role and want to thank President Wilson and Beth for the opportunity to lead this program.” Jensen said in a school release. “I truly love The University of Iowa and I am profoundly honored and excited to continue building on our success. The support we have in every realm from our administration, donors, alumni and fans is unmatched and I am so proud to be a part of this special university, 

    Since her promotion to associate head coach in 2004, Jensen has been widely regarded as one of the nation’s top assistant coaches and is well known for her strong development of post players such as Gustafson and Monika Czinano over the years. She also helped convince Clark to stay home and play for the Hawkeyes instead of sticking with Notre Dame, her initial choice.

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