Iowa women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder announces retirement after 24 seasons

Iowa women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder announces retirement after 24 seasons originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Legendary Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder has announced her retirement after 24 years at the helm with the Hawkeyes, leaving behind a lasting legacy at the school.

The Hawkeyes reached the Final Four in each of the last two seasons, but Bluder has announced she’s moving on in a letter published Monday.

“It is with a range of emotions that I share with you today that I have decided to step down from leading the Iowa women’s basketball team after 24 memorable years,” she said in a letter to the Hawkeyes’ fanbase. “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.”

Iowa announced Monday that Bluder would be replaced by associate head coach Jan Jensen, who has served on Bluder's staff throughout her 24-year run in Iowa City.

Bluder said in the letter that she came to her decision after spending time away from the team with her husband, saying it “became clear to me that I am ready to step aside.”

Buoyed by the emergence of superstar Caitlin Clark, who was recently selected by the WNBA’s Indiana Fever with the No. 1 overall pick in the league’s draft, the Hawkeyes reached the Final Four in back-to-back seasons under Bluder’s guidance. They lost in the 2023 title game to LSU, and then fell again to undefeated South Carolina in the 2024 championship contest.

Along the way, the Hawkeyes regularly smashed television viewership records and continued to churn out strong players, with Kate Martin landing with the reigning champion Las Vegas Aces in the second round of the draft and with Hannah Stuelke poised to continue her career with the Hawkeyes next season.

The Hawkeyes won the Big Ten Conference championship tournament in three consecutive seasons in Bluder’s final three seasons at the helm. They also set an attendance record at the “Crossover at Kinnick” in Oct. 2023, with 55,646 people watching the Hawkeyes knock off DePaul in the exhibition contest.

Bluder leaves Iowa with 528 career victories in 782 total games.

She said in the letter that the future of the program is in good hands.

“My belief in the foundation of this program, knowing that success is now an unrelenting component of women’s basketball at the University of Iowa gives me comfort as I transition to become the program’s biggest champion,” she said.