Lisa Bluder, the all-time winningest coach in program history, is in her 18th year as head women's basketball coach at the University of Iowa and her 34th year overall. Under her direction, the Hawkeyes have advanced to 16 postseason appearances (12 NCAA and four WNIT) in 17 seasons, including NCAA Tournament berths in eight of the last 10 seasons. Iowa has advanced to the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons (eight NCAA and two WNIT).
The dean of Big Ten coaches, Bluder has posted a 343-202 (.629) record at Iowa and her 33-year record stands at 699-344 (.670). Bluder surpassed Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer (269 wins) as the all-time winningest coach in program history on Feb. 10, 2014, as the Hawkeyes defeated Northwestern, 90-84.
Bluder, one-of-10 active Division I coaches with 699 or more wins, 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 16 of her 17 years at Iowa, including 11 upper-division finishes in the challenging Big Ten Conference. Bluder, who ranks second among Big Ten coaches all-time in league victories (168), has led Iowa to 10, 20-win seasons in her 17 years, including eight of the last 10 years.
Bluder has coached numerous players to different awards in her 17 years in Iowa City. She has mentored 20 players to 49 All-Big Ten honors, including 14 first team picks, 16 second, 11 third and eight 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, nine members of the Big Ten All-Freshman team and three players named to the Big Ten All-Defensive team, with Kachine Alexander earning the honor twice.
Five players during Bluder's tenure have earned a total of seven Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) all-region team accolades and six players have earned a total of 11 honorable mention All-America honors. Bluder coached her first consensus All-American in Samantha Logic, who earned the honor after being named a WBCA Division I Coaches All-American, USBWA All-American, ESPN Second Team All-American, and Third Team Associated Press All-American. Logic -- the only player in NCAA history to accumulate at least 1,500 career points, 800 rebounds, 800 assists, and 200 steals -- was one of 12 players in the country to be invited to attend the 2015 WNBA Draft. The point guard was selected with the 10th pick in the first round by the Atlanta Dream, and was later traded to the San Antonio Stars. Logic is only the second first round draft pick in Hawkeye history, joining Toni Foster (1997 by the Phoenix Mercury -- 8th pick).
With Bluder on the Iowa sidelines, student-athletes have been named Academic All-Big Ten 86 times, including a program-best eight honorees in 2011 and 2012. The 86 honorees equal the third-highest total in the Big Ten during the last 17 years.
Ally Disterhoft was named the CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year for the second consecutive season in 2017. She is the fifth scholar-athlete to win the prestigious award in back-to-back years since its inception in 1987-88 and the second Big Ten athlete to accomplish the feat. Disterhoft also became Iowa's first three-time Academic All-American, as she was named to the third team as a sophomore in 2015 and the first team in 2016 and 2017. Lindsey Meder was the first two-time Academic All-American (2001 and 2002). Samantha Logic also earned Academic All-American distinction in 2015. Iowa is the only Division I women's basketball team to have two student-athletes honored, as Disterhoft was the lone sophomore included on the list.
Bluder led the Hawkeyes to a 20-14 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the Big Ten in 2016-17. In its 10th straight postseason tournament appearance, the Hawkeyes advanced to the WNIT Quarterfinals with wins over Missouri State, South Dakota, and Colorado. Senior Ally Disterhoft and sophomore Megan Gustafson each earned first team All-Big Ten accolades, while freshman Kathleen Doyle became the fourth Hawkeye in as many years to be named to the All-Freshman Team.
With 21 points against Missouri State on March 16, 2017, Disterhoft became Iowa's new all-time leading scorer. Disterhoft surpassed Cindy Haugejorde's previous record of 2,059 (1976-80) with four minutes and six seconds left in the four quarter. Disterhoft ended her career with 2,102 points, the second-most by any Hawkeye -- male or female. She ended her career ranked among the top-15 in Hawkeye history in five categories; including career points, 3-point field goals, blocks, rebounds, and assists. She was named Iowa's Female Athlete of the Year for 2015-16 and 2016-17, becoming the sixth Hawkeye in school history to earn the honor twice in her collegiate career. She is also the ninth Hawkeye to earn Iowa's Big Ten Medal of Honor and be named Female Athlete of the Year in the same season.
Sophomore Megan Gustafson made history in 2016-17. The Port Wing, Wisconsin, native became Iowa's single-season rebounding record holder with 10 rebounds against Missouri State on March 16, 2017. She surpassed former Hawkeye Amy Herrig's record of 306 (1998-99). Gustafson also became just the fourth Hawkeye in program history to score 600 or more points in a single season. She ended the season with 628 points, 343 rebounds, and 18 double-doubles. Gustafson ranked among the NCAA top-30 in seven categories, including field goal percentage (5th; 64.7), double-doubles (10th; 18), field goals made (11th; 260), rebounds (11th; 343), rebounds per game (11th; 10.1), defensive rebounds per game (26th; 7), and final points (28th; 628).
The Hawkeyes made their ninth consecutive postseason appearance, earning an invitation to the WNIT after finishing the season with a 19-14 record overall and an 8-10 mark in Big Ten play. Iowa entered the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 9 seed, where it posted an opening win against No. 8 seed Michigan, 97-85. In the contest, the team matched Big Ten Tournament records with 28 assists, 27 field goals, and 12 blocked shots and netted a season-high 97 points, the third-highest point total for a conference team in the tournament.
Junior Ally Disterhoft earned her second straight second team All-Big Ten honor and received the team's Sportsmanship Award. The preseason All-Big Ten pick by coaches scored in double figures in every game this season and became the 34th member of Iowa's 1,000 point club. Disterhoft, who was named to the Big Ten Player of the Week Honor Roll twice, became the program's highest scoring junior (565 points) and led the Hawkeyes offensively, averaging 17.1 points per game.
Tania Davis and Megan Gustafson were each named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. It is the fifth time in 15 years that a conference team has had two players named to the Big Ten All-Freshman squad and the first time since 2008. Davis was one of two Big Ten freshmen to lead her team in assists per game (3.4) and average at least one steal per game (1.2). She dished out 111 assists in 22 games played, the second-highest total recorded by a freshman at Iowa (Samantha Logic – 136). Gustafson is the only freshman and one of three conference players overall to lead her team in field goal percentage (.554), rebounds (225), and blocks (58). She compiled nine double-doubles in the last 13 games of the season and earned Iowa's first Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor since 2012 on Feb. 22. Her 58 blocks is the third-highest total recorded by a freshman in program history.
Iowa made history in 2014-15, earning its sixth Sweet Sixteen appearance in program history and the first since 1996. The Hawkeyes defeated 14th-seeded American (75-67) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before downing 11th-seeded Miami (88-70) in the second round to secure their Sweet Sixteen berth at home on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It was the first Sweet Sixteen appearance for Bluder and her staff. The Hawkeyes closed their season with a 26-8 record overall, a runner-up finish in Big Ten Conference play with a 14-4 mark, and a No. 11 national ranking in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches' Poll -- the highest for the program since 1995-96 (No. 7 in AP, No. 9 in USA Today). The UI was one of 13 teams nationally to finish undefeated at home with an 18-0 mark, setting a program record for wins at home in a single season.
Following the 2014-15 season, Bluder was honored with the Carol Eckman Award and named head coach of the U.S. Pan American Women's Basketball Team. Bluder led the Red, White, and Blue to four consecutive victories over Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, before falling to Pan American Games host Canada in the gold medal game. Team USA earned its fifth silver medal at the games, rebounding from a seventh place finish in 2011.
The Hawkeyes finished the 2013-14 campaign with an overall record of 27-9 and a ranking of No. 19 in the postseason AP Top 25 Poll. The Hawkeyes' 27 victories equaled the second-highest total in program history, and the most since 1996. In addition, Iowa's 14 home wins equaled the second-highest single-season total in school history. The Hawkeyes made their seventh-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Iowa, a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, defeated 11th-seeded Marist in the First Round, 87-65, marking the fourth-largest margin of victory in an NCAA Tournament win in program history.
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. 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, marking 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 several 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. Bluder surpassed Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer (269 wins) as the all-time winningest coach in program history on Feb. 10, 2014.
During her tenure at Iowa, five former players have gone on to become coaches at the collegiate level. Cara Consuegra (Charlotte) and Jennie (Lillis) Baranczyk (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.
Thirteen former Hawkeyes under Bluder continued their playing careers professionally after graduation. Cara Consuegra, Lindsey Meder, Crystal Smith, Kachine Alexander, and Samantha Logic all had stints in the WNBA. Smith, Alexander, Logic, Bethany Doolittle, Johanna Solverson, Kristi Smith, Megan Skouby, JoAnn Hamlin, Trisha Nesbitt, Morgan Johnson and Theairra Taylor 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, Iowa, 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.
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. Wendy Ausdemore, a 2009 graduate, and Morgan Johnson, a 2013 graduate, were two-time Academic All-District honorees.
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, Iowa, 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 (19) and Emma (16) and one son, David (14).