Iowa coach Lisa Bluder retires after Caitlin Clark’s departure; longtime assistant Jan Jensen to take over

Lisa Bluder has retired after 24 seasons as Iowa’s head coach. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder announced her retirement on Monday.

Longtime Iowa assistant Jan Jensen will take over as head coach. Iowa shared the news on social media.

Bluder, 63, coached the Hawkeyes for 24 seasons from 2000-24. She led the Hawkeyes to 18 NCAA tournament appearances and was the 2018-19 Naismith Coach of the Year. She steps down after overseeing the Caitlin Clark era that substantially grew the game of women’s basketball.

“It has been the honor of my career to be a part of the Iowa Hawkeye family,” Bluder wrote in the Iowa statement announcing her retirement. “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.”

With Clark and Bluder leading the way, the Hawkeyes reached four consecutive NCAA tournaments and advanced to the national championship game in each of the past two seasons. Clark left the program last month after securing her place as college basketball’s all-time leading scorer. She was the first pick by the Indiana Fever in the WNBA Draft and will make her professional debut on Tuesday.

Caitlin Clark’s message to Bluder

Clark congratulated Bluder on her retirement shortly after it was announced.

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

Simply no one better at building a team… Thank you for believing in me more than anyone 🤍 Enjoy retirement, coach. Very much deserved 🥹 — Caitlin Clark (@CaitlinClark22) May 13, 2024

Bluder’s legacy

The Hawkeyes secured a winning record in all but one of Bluder’s seasons at the helm and won at least 20 games in each of the last eight seasons. Iowa went 528-254 (.675) under Bluder’s leadership.

Bluder previously coached 10 seasons at Drake, where she led the Bulldogs to NCAA tournament appearances in four of her final six seasons. Drake compiled a 187-106 (.638) record under Bluder.

Bluder started her college coaching career with six seasons as the head coach of NAIA program St. Ambrose, where she posted a 169-36 (.824) record and was named the 1990 NAIA Coach of the Year.

With a combined 884-396 (.691) record, Bluder retires as the 10th-winningest coach in women’s college basketball history. She’s a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and the all-time leader in wins at Iowa and in the Big Ten.

Jensen takes over after decades by Bluder’s side

Jensen played for Bluder at Drake. She later joined Bluder’s staff as an assistant and recruiting coordinator at Drake in 1993 and followed her to Iowa when Bluder took over the program in 2000. Jensen has been Bluder’s associate head coach for the last 20 seasons.

“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 wrote. “I’m committed to help her, and her staff, in whatever capacity they need moving forward.”

Jensen maintained her role as Bluder’s recruiting coordinator and has been integral in Iowa’s recruiting successes over the years. This is her first head-coaching job.

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