The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa women’s basketball head coach Jan Jensen ready to continue program success

Jensen hopes to build off the strong foundation that former head coach Lisa Bluder has built.
Isabella Tisdale
Iowa head coach Jan Jensen listens as Beth Goetz speaks about her during an introductory press conference for Head coach Jan Jensen at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday May 15, 2024. The conference marks Jensen’s first as head coach of the Hawkeyes. Jan Jensen and Beth Goetz answered questions from the media about Jensen’s new position as head coach.

Iowa athletic director Beth Goetz closed her opening statement during the introductory press conference for new women’s basketball head coach Jan Jensen saying, “How amazing is it when the easy choice is the right choice?” 

Jensen was promoted to the head coaching position after Bluder announced her retirement on Monday. Bluder contacted Goetz and Jensen around a week ago to inform them of her decision, and Goetz quickly reached out to Jensen to begin preliminary conversations. 

“Jan [Jensen] would be the first one to tell you that no matter what her contributions were, she didn’t walk into this, even in our conversations, feeling entitled to have this appointment,” Goetz said to the media after the press conference. “She knew she was ready — she was confident she could do the job, and wanted to make sure she shared what the vision would look like.”

Jensen served on Bluder’s staff as an associate head coach for the last 20 years, calling Bluder a boss, mentor, and friend. During the conference, Jensen got choked up when thanking Bluder for the impact she has had on both her basketball career and women’s basketball.

“I know there’s a lot of people that could take this job, and I promise you nobody loves this place as much as I do,” Jensen said. “It is not lost on me that I’ve gotten to have my dream job at a place that I love, and now I get to have my dream title.” 

This wasn’t the first head coaching job Jensen had been offered. At the conference, she said she turned down double-digit offers, with two or three that were really tempting to her. 

“At some point, you have to [say] okay, this is what I’m going for,” Jensen said. “So about eight years ago, that’s what I told Lisa [Bluder]. Now, some people called, and I talked, but at the end of the day, there was no place I wanted to be.”

Jensen said she expects things to remain relatively the same because of the program’s historic success but still intends to “put my own little stamp” on the program. 

Jensen was thankful for the program’s continuity with the coaching staff and the many players who committed to staying at Iowa.  

Jensen also mentioned that Bluder would be staying on in some capacity, most likely in an advisory role, and was thankful for the help she’ll bring to the program during the transition.

On the court, Jensen wants to tap into her offensive-minded background and continue to put on an entertaining and energetic product for the fans. However, she expects adjustments in how the team plays after graduating longtime starters Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin, and Caitlin Clark. 

Jensen hopes to replicate the program’s success out of the gate while giving herself and the team some grace while everyone adjusts in the first year of what she said is a “longer-term contract.” 

She understands it’s a long game and said she “wants to chase greatness.”

Jensen likes the returning players and expects them to play with a “chip on their shoulder.” next season and prove they can overcome the loss of key contributors. 

“I think there’s that saying, tradition never graduates,” Jensen said. “I don’t believe culture graduates, but you have to work on it. You have to recruit to it.” 

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About the Contributors
Isaac Elzinga
Isaac Elzinga, Sports Reporter
Isaac Elzinga is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass communication. This is his first year working at The Daily Iowan; he also works as a producer for 1600 ESPN a sports radio station in Cedar Rapids.
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.