Local NewsLocal Sports

Bluder Announces Retirement from Coaching Iowa Women’s Basketball

Jan Jensen Named New Head Coach

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Lisa Bluder announced on Monday her retirement from coaching after 40 years as a collegiate head coach, including 24 at the University of Iowa.

Jan Jensen, who has served the last 20 years as the associate head coach under Coach Bluder, has been named the program’s sixth head coach by Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair Beth Goetz. Jensen has more than 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, working alongside Bluder the past 24 years at Iowa and eight at Drake University.

“It is bittersweet news for all of us who love the University of Iowa and who have incredible admiration and respect for what Coach Bluder has accomplished and for how she did it. Lisa has left an indelible mark on this program, touched countless lives, and brought joy to all who know and love the Hawkeyes. Words can’t appropriately express the gratitude I share with so many for the impact she has made on the game of women’s basketball and the University of Iowa.” said Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair Beth Goetz. “While we are saddened that she will no longer lead our young women on the court, we are thankful for what she has given to all of us and are comforted knowing she will continue to be our biggest champion and fan.”

Among her many accolades, Bluder was named the Naismith Coach of the Year (2019), was a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2001, 2008, 2010), four-time regional coach of the year (2001, 2008, 2018, 2019), and the Carol Eckman Award winner (2015) in addition to being an inductee into the Des Moines Register Hall of Fame (2016), the Quad City Times Hall of Fame (2012), the Linn-Mar Athletic Hall of Fame (2008) and the Northern Iowa Hall of Fame (2000). Bluder amassed 884 career wins, 10th most in NCAA women’s basketball history.

“I am thrilled to share with you that current Associate Head Coach Jan Jensen has agreed to become the next P. Sue Beckwith, MD, Head Women’s Basketball Coach. This program has always been about family, and the contributions to its incredible culture are shared by alums, current, student-athletes and the entire staff. One of those contributors has been in the team circle for 24 years as a tireless recruiter, skilled teacher of the game, and charismatic personality that has endeared her to the Hawkeye community. Coach Jensen has been an instrumental part of our success, assisting in all aspects of the program. After several conversations with Coach Bluder and President Wilson over the last few days, it is clear that everything that we are seeking in a head coach, we have found right here.”

Bluder was named head coach at the University of Iowa in 2000 and retires as the all-time winningest coach in Big Ten history with an overall record of 528-254 and a Big Ten record of 262-145. Under her leadership, the Hawkeyes advanced to the last two National Championship Games and made 22 postseason appearances overall (18 NCAA and 4 WNIT), including 14 of the last 16 NCAA Tournaments. Bluder led the Hawkeyes to five Big Ten Tournament titles, and two shared Big Ten regular season championships.

Under her tutelage, Hawkeye players were named the National Player of the Year three times with two others named consensus All-Americans. Three different players were named the Big Ten Player of the Year and also three different players recognized as Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Sixty-five Hawkeyes earned All-Big Ten honors. Seventeen former Hawkeyes went on to play professionally. In the classroom, her student-athletes were named Academic All-Big Ten more than 150 times, while Ally Disterhoft (2016, 2017) and Caitlin Clark (2023, 2024) were both recognized as the Academic All-American of the Year.

Bluder began her coaching career as head coach at St. Ambrose University for six seasons (1985-90) followed by a 10-year head coaching stint at Drake (1991-2000). Bluder and the Bulldogs won four Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championships (1995, 1997, 1998, 2000) and three regular season titles (1997, 1998, 2000).

“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. 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.”

LISA BLUDER

Jensen, helped guide Iowa to 22 postseason appearances, including 18 NCAA Tournaments, will enter her 25th year as a Hawkeye coach in 2024-25. Jensen was instrumental in mentoring the Hawkeyes to five Big Ten Tournament titles, including three straight, and sharing two regular season conference championships. Jensen and the Hawkeyes advanced to back-to-back National Championships (2023, 2024), and made the Elite Eight three times (2019, 2023, 2024) and the Sweet 16 five times (2015, 2019, 2023, 2024).

She began her coaching career at her alma mater in 1993 as an assistant to Coach Bluder, winning four MVC Tournament and three regular season championships (1997, 1998, 2000) on the Drake coaching staff.

Jensen quickly gained attention for her recruiting prowess and development of post players. Jensen and the Hawkeye recruiting classes consistently rank among the nation’s elite. Since arriving in Iowa City, she has been integral in attracting top recruits to the University of Iowa, including McDonald’s All-Americans (Samantha Logic, Lindsay Richards, Johanna Solverson and Caitlin Clark) and developing and maintaining consensus All-Americans Samantha Logic, Megan Gustafson, Kathleen Doyle and Caitlin Clark. Gustafson (2019) and Clark (2023, 2024) were ultimately voted the Naismith Player of the Year.

Coach Jensen is a native of Kimballton, Iowa, and played her college ball under Coach Bluder at Drake University, earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations in 1991, followed by a master’s degree in higher education in 1996. As a senior, she led the nation in scoring and was the Gateway Conference Most Valuable Player, a Kodak Honorable Mention All-American, a member of the All-Gateway team, and the GTE Academic All-American Player of the Year. She currently ranks fourth on Drake’s all-time scoring list, sixth in field goal percentage and eighth in rebounds, and is one of only two Drake players to have her number retired in the Knapp Center. After college, Coach Jensen played professionally in the European Professional Basketball League for BTV-Wuppertal in Germany, winning the German Cup.

Off the court, Coach Jensen has been involved in the United Way of Johnson County and was recognized as the United Way of Johnson County Volunteer of the Year. She was also a recipient of the Corridor Business Journal Forty Under 40 Award and was named a recipient of the `Women of Influence’ Award by the Corridor Business Journal.

“I have been so blessed to have enjoyed an incredible ride with Lisa. That ride started when I was her player and continued for 33 years as I had the privilege to work alongside of her. I can’t thank Lisa enough for her mentorship, leadership, and most of all her friendship. I am so proud of all we accomplished and grateful for all the memories we created,” Jensen said. “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. 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.”

Coach Jensen and her spouse, Julie Fitzpatrick, have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Janie.

An introductory news conference for Coach Jensen will be held Wednesday, May 15 at 1 p.m.

 

story and photo courtesy of hawkeyesports.com

ADVERTISEMENT
Back to top button