Legendary Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder announces retirement

Lisa Bluder, the all-time winningest coach in Iowa women’s basketball history with 533 victories across 24 seasons in Iowa City, is retiring.

The University of Iowa announced Bluder’s retirement Monday afternoon.

Jan Jensen, who has served the last 20 years as the associate head coach under Bluder, has been named her successor, the school added.

“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 do great things in their careers, and, more importantly, in their lives,” Bluder said in a statement. “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. I’m committed to help her, and her staff, in whatever capacity they need moving forward.”

Bluder, 63, has been one of the most successful and well-respected coaches in the sport, winning five Big Ten Tournament championships, two Big Ten regular-season titles and making a pair of Final Four appearances the past two seasons. She is a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year winner and was named the 2019 Naismith College Coach of the Year.

The Hawkeyes made 22 postseason appearances under Bluder’s leadership (18 NCAA and 4 WNIT) and have appeared in 14 of the last 16 NCAA Tournaments. 

Before arriving at Iowa in 2000, Bluder served as the head coach at Drake (1990-2000) and St. Ambrose University (1984-1990). She leaves Iowa with a record of 533-254 and an all-time college head coaching record of 889-394.

Bluder’s final game came five weeks ago when the Hawkeyes fell to South Carolina in the national championship, marking an end to superstar Caitlin Clark’s collegiate career.

“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. “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.

“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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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