How OU women's basketball coach Jennie Baranczyk reacted to Lisa Bluder's retirement

NORMAN — Less than a week ago, Jennie Baranczyk and Lisa Bluder’s paths crossed once more.

The pair, the OU women’s basketball coach and the then-Iowa coach were together at a funeral.

Baranczyk didn’t expect that Bluder, her college coach and mentor, would soon step away.

“She has been pivotal in just really my playing, my coaching philosophies, how she’s held herself to a really high standard, how she’s made it about her players, how she works hard,” Baranczyk said Tuesday. “She’s blue-collar. She’s humble. I’m sad to see her retire, to be honest. I thought she would go for a long time, but I couldn’t be more excited for Jan. I’ve known Jan just as long.”

OU men's basketball: 2024-25 SEC opponents announced for Sooners

Jennie Baranczyk was one of the first standout players for Lisa Bluder at Iowa. Tuesday, Baranczyk reacted to Bluder's retirement from the Hawkeyes.
Jennie Baranczyk was one of the first standout players for Lisa Bluder at Iowa. Tuesday, Baranczyk reacted to Bluder's retirement from the Hawkeyes.

Bluder, 63, stepped down Monday and Jan Jensen, her assistant during the entirety of Bluder’s 24-season run with the Hawkeyes, was named as her successor.

Bluder and Jensen recruited the then-Jennie Lillis to Drake, losing out on her to Iowa.

But by the time Baranczyk was out of high school, Bluder and Jensen had moved on to Iowa.

Baranczyk went on to be pivotal in the establishment of Bluder’s culture with the Hawkeyes, averaging 14.4 points over four seasons there and helping the Hawkeyes to three NCAA Tournament berths in four seasons.

Baranczyk said she was thrilled that Jensen was elevated.

“As an alum, I’m really proud that they were in a position where they could do that, because that’s every coach’s dream is to be able to pass it on to somebody that’s in the family,” Baranczyk said. “I think it’s pretty awesome to be able to do that. The game lost a good one but also gained another great one.”

More: OU women's basketball lands Oregon State forward Raegan Beers via transfer portal

Baraczyk ultimately followed in Bluder’s footsteps, coaching Drake from 2012-21.

If not for Jensen, Baranczyk would’ve figured to be a logical successor to Bluder in Iowa City.

Baranczyk said she looked forward to continuing to build the Sooners’ program.

“I’ve never worried about where other people think you should go,” Baranczyk said. “When I got to Drake, I thought I was going to be at Drake forever and that was something, I thought we could build that team and that program. Obviously, as time went on and sometimes things change a little, I knew that it was time to go but I didn’t know I could ever find a place that I loved as much as I loved Drake, and I have found that in Oklahoma.

“It’s kind of like when you have your first child, you don’t think you could ever love another child as much as you could possibly love that child and then you have another one. The third one breaks you, so I know that you just go to two places and you stay. But honestly, I love it here. I love (that) our administration is so supportive. They allow us to grow, they allow us to fall down. … I love the people here. I love what we can do here.”

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU women's hoops coach Jennie Baranczyk on Lisa Bluder's retirement