Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder announces her retirement

 

Iowa women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder announced her retirement on Monday as former Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark nears her pro debut with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.

Bluder’s longtime assistant Jan Jensen was named her successor.

“There is no denying that this past season was incredible for so many reasons, and we could not have accomplished our achievements without all of you,” Bluder said in an open letter to fans. “After the season ended, I spent time with our student-athletes and coaches reviewing the season and preparing those moving on for what comes next.

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“With that also came personal contemplation about what this journey has meant to me, how to best champion this program, and what the future looks like for my family and me. After then taking some time away with my husband, David, it became clear to me that I am ready to step aside.”

Bluder’s retirement came more than a month after Iowa dropped its second consecutive national championship — this time it was to South Carolina.

She spent 24 years leading the Hawkeyes after spending 10 years at Drake. Bluder was 716-359 in her career.

Clark, arguably the best player in Bluder’s tenure, congratulated her former coach.

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“Simply no one better at building a team,” Clark wrote on X. “Thank you for believing in me more than anyone. Enjoy retirement, coach. Very much deserved.”

Jensen will take the reins starting in the 2024-25 season. She was an associate head coach under Bluder for 20 years. She was also with Bluder when they were at Drake.

She was an All-American at Drake and the highest-scoring player ever in six-on-six basketball at El Horn-Kimballton High School in Iowa.

“There is no better person to lead this program than Jan Jensen and I am thrilled she will have the opportunity to build on the foundation established,” Bluder said. “I’m committed to help her, and her staff, in whatever capacity they need moving forward.”

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Bluder helped Iowa to five Big Ten Tournament championships. She was the Big Ten Coach of the Year three times and the 2019 Naismith College Coach of the Year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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