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HomeSports NewsIowa women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder announces her retirement

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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Lisa Bluder and Jan Jensen

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder, left, stands with associate head coach Jan Jensen, right, before an NCAA college basketball game against Nebraska, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

“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.

CAITLIN CLARK RECALLS ‘FRUSTRATING’ MEDIA STORM OVER 2023 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP LOSS

Lisa Bluder at the ESPN 'Full Court Press' premiere.

Iowa women’s NCAA college basketball head coach Lisa Bluder arrives on the Red Carpet before the world premiere and screening of Episode 1 of the upcoming ESPN+ Original Series Full Court Press, Monday, May 6, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

“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.”

Lisa Bluder and Caitlin Clark

Head coach Lisa Bluder of the Iowa Hawkeyes high fives Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament National Championship at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 7, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio. (C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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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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