Iowa women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder eyes 800 career wins

Against Drake on Sunday, Bluder could pick up her 800th career win as a head coach.

Iowa+head+coach+Lisa+Bluder+talks+with+assistant+coach+Abby+Stamp+during+a+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+game+between+No.+8+Iowa+and+Southern+University+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+17%2C+2021.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Jaguars+87-67.+After+this+win%2C+Bluder+has+reached+a+total+of+799+wins+in+her+career.

Grace Smith

Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder talks with assistant coach Abby Stamp during a women’s basketball game between No. 8 Iowa and Southern University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jaguars 87-67. After this win, Bluder has reached a total of 799 wins in her career.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor


Editor’s note: Following publication, Hawkeye Athletics announced that Iowa women’s basketball is canceling its next three games, including its matchup against Drake, because of positive COVID-19 tests within the program. 

Iowa women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder sat at the postgame podium after the Hawkeyes’ victory over Southern University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday night — her 799th win as a head coach. 

Sitting next to her athletes, the head Hawkeye made a joke as she was asked about approaching win No. 800.

“You know, we’re gonna probably get it this year,” Bluder said. “If we don’t get it Sunday, it’s probably going to come at some time.”

But sophomore point guard Caitlin Clark cut her coach off with a decisive statement.

“No, we’re going to get it Sunday,” she said. “She doesn’t give herself enough credit.”

Bluder will attempt the historic feat as the No. 8 Hawkeyes take on Drake on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Bulldogs are 1-2 on the season, coming off a 98-76 loss to No. 14 Iowa State on Thursday.

Bluder said that although she’s thankful for the accomplishment, she wishes it wasn’t against the Bulldogs. She spent 10 years of her career as the head coach of Drake, compiling 187 of her 799 wins with the Bulldogs from 1990-2000.

Hawkeye associate head coach Jan Jensen and special assistant to the head coach Jenni Fitzgerald coached with Bluder at Drake in the 1990s, and joined the Hawkeye coaching staff with Bluder in 2000.

“We love Drake,” Bluder said. “I mean, we cheer for them all the time except for this one game. And I think the feeling is mutual. So I, you know, I kind of wish it was against somebody else, to be real honest.”

The 60-year-old head coach started her coaching career at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, in 1984. Bluder recorded her first 169 wins at the NAIA institution, finishing her six-year career with the Bees with a 169-36 record. 

Now, the 37-year coaching veteran will go for her 800th career win — a feat only six active Division I head coaches have attained.

“When it does happen, it’s just one of those times that you always just step back and are so thankful,” Bluder said. “You know, you’re thankful for the people that you’ve been able to be around. when I think of Jan Jensen and Jenny Fitzgerald have been part of, oh my gosh, how many of these victories, and all the kids that you’ve gotten the opportunity to coach. And you just don’t accomplish these things without administration support, too. So, I’m very, very thankful.”

Overall, Bluder currently obtains a 799-376 record as a head coach, with a 442-234 mark at Iowa. She led Iowa to two Big Ten Tournament Championships in 2001 and 2019, and has posted a winning record in 20 of her 21 seasons as a Hawkeye.

But throughout 799 wins, Bluder’s loyalty and love for the game hasn’t wavered — she still gets butterflies before every game she coaches.

“I always want butterflies,” Bluder said. “I’m kind of upset if I don’t have them, to be quite honest. Because I think if you don’t have them, it doesn’t mean anything to you, right? And, so, to me, you want them.”

The Hawkeyes’ matchup against Drake will be aired on BTN+. 

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