Head Coach Lisa Bluder
Lisa Bluder is in her 14th season as head women's basketball coach at the University of Iowa and her 29th year overall. Under her direction, the Hawkeyes have advanced to 12 postseason appearances (10 NCAA and two WNIT), including NCAA Tournament berths in each of the last six seasons. Iowa is the only team in the Big Ten, and one of just 13 in NCAA Division I women's basketball, to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last six years.
The dean of Big Ten coaches, Bluder has posted a 251-157 (.615) record at Iowa and her 28-year record stands at 607-299 (.670). Her 251 wins at Iowa are the second-most of any Hawkeye women's basketball coach, behind Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer (269 wins).
Bluder is a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (2001, 2008 and 2010) and two-time WBCA Regional Coach of the Year (2001 and 2008). She has guided Iowa to a winning record in 12 of her 13 years at Iowa, including nine upper-division finishes in the challenging Big Ten Conference. Bluder has led Iowa to seven 20-win seasons in her 13 years, including five of the last six years.
Bluder has coached numerous players to different awards in her 11 years in Iowa City. She has mentored 15 players to 38 All-Big Ten honors, including 10 first team picks, 10 second, 12 third and six honorable mention selections. She has also had two Big Ten Freshman of the Year award winners, two Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year recipients, five members of the Big Ten All-Freshman team and two players named to the Big Ten All-Defensive team, with Kachine Alexander earning the honor twice.
Four players during Bluder's tenure have earned a total of five Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) all-region team accolades and five players have earned a total of nine honorable mention All-America honors.
With Bluder on the Iowa sidelines, student-athletes have been named Academic All-Big Ten 62 times, including a program-best eight honorees in 2011 and 2012. Additionally, Lindsey Meder was a two-time Academic All-American (2001 and 2002).
Iowa earned its sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012-13, finishing with a 21-13 overall record. The Hawkeyes faced 11 ranked teams during the season, marking the most games played against ranked opponents in Iowa history. The Hawkeyes tied the school record for number of wins over ranked opponents with seven, along with setting school records in team assists (534) and rebounds (1,303).
Iowa closed the regular season with eight-straight wins in 2011-12, securing a second place finish in the Big Ten and its fifth-straight NCAA Tournament berth. Iowa's 11 conference wins were the most since 2001-02 and the fourth-most in school history (during a 16-game conference schedule). The Hawkeyes closed the regular season without their leading scorer, Jaime Printy, who suffered a torn ACL.
Bluder had one of her most successful seasons in 2010-11, leading Iowa to a 22-9 overall record and a third place finish in the Big Ten at 10-6. Iowa's overall win/loss record in 2010-11 was the best for an Iowa team since the 1995-96 campaign. The Hawkeyes were nationally ranked for 14 weeks during the season, reaching No. 14 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Iowa received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament for the fourth-straight season.
In 2009-10, Bluder led one of the youngest teams in the country to a third place finish in the Big Ten and a berth in the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament, where they knocked off Rutgers in the first round before falling to eventual national runner-up and No. 2 ranked Stanford. Iowa finished the 2009-10 season with a 20-14 record, including a 10-8 mark in Big Ten play.
Bluder guided the Hawkeyes to back-to-back 21-11 overall records during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. Iowa won a share of the Big Ten regular season championship in 2008 and finished in a three-way tie for second in 2009. The Hawkeyes boasted a 26-5 home record, advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals and appeared in the NCAA Tournament twice during the two-year stretch.
In 2005-06, Bluder guided a young and mostly inexperienced group of Hawkeyes to a 17-12 overall record and a fifth place finish in the Big Ten. Even with a season plagued by knee injuries, the Hawkeyes persevered with strong senior leadership talented play from its freshman class. Iowa received an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Bluder mentored Iowa to a 23-10 overall record and advanced to the WNIT Final Four in 2004-05. The 23 victories are the most by a Bluder coached Iowa team and the most victories since the 1995-96 season. Iowa started the 2004-05 campaign 13-0 and were the last Division I undefeated team standing. Bluder navigated the Hawkeyes through a difficult schedule and ultimately finished the season ranked 38th in the RPI.
In 2003-04, Bluder and the Hawkeyes finished with a 16-13 record while playing the 14th most difficult schedule in the nation and tied for fourth in the league with a 10-6 mark. In addition, eight of its 16 victories came on the road, makring the most road wins by a Hawkeye team since the 1993-94 season.
Bluder helped her third Iowa team to another exciting run in the Big Ten Tournament and WNIT in 2002-03. The seventh-seeded Hawkeyes opened the league tournament with a win over Northwestern. In the quarterfinals, Iowa treated its fans to a thrilling upset over 13th-ranked and second-seeded Minnesota. The Hawkeyes opened postseason play with wins over Saint Louis and Marquette before falling the Missouri Valley Conference co-champions Creighton Bluejays in the WNIT.
In 2001-02, Bluder coached the Hawkeyes to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year and a fourth place finish in the Big Ten. Iowa finished with an 18-11 overall record and a 10-6 mark in league play.
In her first season with the Black and Gold, Bluder transformed a struggling program into a 21-game winner. Iowa received the Big Ten's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a victory over Purdue to capture the 2001 Big Ten Tournament. Furthermore, the Hawkeyes advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after receiving a No. 4 seed and finished the season ranked No. 16 in the final Associated Press poll. Competing in one of the most demanding conference in the country, Bluder directed the Hawkeyes to a 21-10 overall record, a second-place finish in the conference regular season and captured Iowa's second-ever Big Ten Tournament title. Iowa played the 16th toughest schedule in the country and finished the season ranked 18th in the RPI.
"Our success has always been based on playing up-tempo basketball," said Bluder. "We want to put lots of points on the board. The fast break is our number one offense. That type of basketball is exciting for fans and its fun for our players. When we do get into a half court game, everyone has a role. Our goal is to have four or five players averaging in double figures. We want everyone involved. Defensively, we work hard at never letting anything be easy for our opponent. We play tough player-to-player defense hoping to capitalize on steals to set up our break."
Her presence on the Iowa sidelines turned heads across the country. Virginia and USA Basketball Head Coach Debbie Ryan chose Bluder to help coach Team USA as an assistant coach at the 2001 World University Games in Beijing, China. Team USA marched into the gold medal game against host-team China and won 87-69. Team USA finished the games with a 7-1 mark.
"This was a new experience for me," Bluder said after winning the gold medal. "Just to reach the gold medal game was a thrill. It's something I will always remember. What I think is really wonderful about this experience is each game I felt like Team USA improved. I was honored to be chosen to represent the United States and experience international coaching for the first time."
Bluder has reached seven coaching milestones while at Iowa. During her first season, she collected her 200th victory at the Division I level when the Hawkeyes defeated Minnesota. She garnered win No. 300 at the Division I level with Iowa's regular season finale win over Indiana in 2006. During her third season, Bluder captured career No. 400 in Iowa's triumph over Iowa State. Bluder won career game No. 500 vs. Penn State on Feb. 10, 2008 and No. 600 vs. Purdue on Jan. 20, 2013.
During her tenure at Iowa, five former players have gone on to become coaches. Cara Consuegra (UNC Charlotte) and Jennie Lillis (Drake) are currently Division I head coaches. Randi Peterson is the head coach at Coe College; Kachine Alexander is an assistant at Concordia (St. Paul) and Wendy Ausdemore served as an assistant at Coe for one season.
Eight former Hawkeyes under Bluder continued their playing careers professionally after graduation. Cara Consuegra, Lindsey Meder, Crystal Smith and Kachine Alexander all had stints in the WNBA. Smith, Alexander, Johanna Solverson, Kristi Smith and Megan Skouby and JoAnn Hamlin also played professionally in Europe.
Bluder, alongside her husband David and daughter Hannah, was introduced as the Hawkeyes' fifth head coach in front of a packed press room in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 7, 2000. The native of Marion, IA, came to Iowa after spending 10 successful seasons at Drake University.
Bluder compiled a 187-106 (.638) record at Drake in 10 seasons and a 169-36 (.824) record in six seasons at NAIA St. Ambrose University.
In her 10 years as Drake University women's basketball coach, Bluder brought great success and tradition to the Bulldog program and established herself as one of the top coaches in the country. She led Drake to five 20-plus-win seasons in the last six years, including five post-season appearances. She guided the Bulldogs to eight Missouri Valley Conference tournament appearances, reaching the semifinals six times and winning the tournament four times. Bluder was also named the Conference Coach of the Year three times at Drake.
Bluder's 1999-2000 Drake squad registered a 23-7 record. The Bulldogs won both the MVC regular-season and tournament titles and earned the school's fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament under Bluder.
The 1997-98 team finished the season 25-5, Bluder's best record at Drake, and won the MVC regular-season title, recording Drake's best conference finish with a 17-1 record. The Bulldogs also won the MVC Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years. She was named the MVC Coach of the Year for the second straight year as Drake was ranked No. 22 in the final Associated Press ranking.
In 1998-99, Drake posted a 21-10 record in the MVC. It marked the fourth time in five years the Bulldogs reached the 20-win plateau, while advancing to the semifinals of the WNIT Tournament.
Bluder began her coaching career at St. Ambrose University, where she coached six successful seasons building the Bees into a NAIA powerhouse. During her tenure at St. Ambrose, Bluder recorded a 169-36 (.824) mark and guided the Bees to four straight national tournaments, including two consecutive Final Four appearances. The 1990 St. Ambrose team was ranked No. 1 and Bluder was named the NAIA Converse Coach of the Year.
She is also committed to her team's academic success. While at Drake, she coached two Academic All-America Players of the Year in current Hawkeye Associate Head Coach Jan Jensen (1991) and Tricia Wakely (1996). As a team, the Bulldogs ranked fourth in 1995 graduation rate success among teams ranked in the USA Today/CNN final top-25 Coaches' Poll. While at Iowa, Lindsey Meder became the first Hawkeye women's basketball player to be named a first team Verizon Academic all-American while Wendy Ausdemore, who was a 2009 graduate, was a two-time academic all-District honoree.
Student-athletes who have played under Coach Bluder and completed their eligibility have a 100 percent job placement following their career, and all of them have earned their degrees.
Bluder's successful coaching record speaks for itself, however her commitment to her players extends far beyond the records book.
During the summer of 2003, Bluder was elected Division I Midwest Representative of the WBCA Board of Directors. She has also served on the WBCA Kodak All-American selection committee for four terms and the Midwest Regional Advisory Committee for the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championships.
"My players are truly an extension of my family," said Bluder. "I care about them in all aspects of their lives. I want to help them succeed as athletes, but especially as people. I have an open-door relationship with my players. Hopefully, they benefit from my perspective as their coach, as a former athlete and as a mother. They can come to me with anything and get help. Along with that aspect, I consider myself a disciplinarian. I don't have a lot of rules, but I do have a lot of expectations. Those revolve around moral and ethical values that are the foundation of our program."
A graduate of Linn-Mar High School in Marion, IA, Bluder was a three-year starter at Northern Iowa. She graduated from UNI in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in marketing. On Sept. 4, 2008, Bluder was inducted to the Linn-Mar Athletic Hall of Fame. She has also been inducted to the Northern Iowa and St. Ambrose Hall of Fame.
Bluder and her husband David have two daughters, Hannah (16) and Emma (13) and one son, David (11).