Iowa extends WBB Head Coach Bluder through 2026

Nine head coaches of University of Iowa intercollegiate athletic programs have received contract extensions. The announcement was made Monday by Gary Barta, Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair.

Head coaches in the sports of men’s basketball (Fran McCaffery), wrestling (Tom Brands), baseball (Rick Heller), women’s soccer (Dave DiIanni), women’s basketball (Lisa Bluder), women’s golf (Megan Menzel), softball (Renee Gillispie), field hockey (Lisa Cellucci) and women’s tennis (Sasha Schmid) had their contracts extended. A number of assistant coaches in several sports also received contract extensions.

“It is with great pleasure that we are able to reward our head coaches in these sports with contract extensions and adjustments,” said Barta. “I am proud of our coaches, staff and student-athletes for their successes in competition, but just as importantly for the professionalism displayed in going about their business, both athletically and academically, throughout a very difficult time due to COVID-19.”

The overall success of Iowa athletics in 2020-21 included six Big Ten Conference championships, the NCAA national championship in wrestling and an NCAA Final Four appearance by Field Hockey. Hawkeye teams won Big Ten titles in soccer (postseason), women’s gymnastics (regular season), wrestling (regular season and postseason), and men’s track and field in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Iowa’s final ranking in the Learfield IMG College Director’s Cup (30th) marks its highest finish in the overall sports standings since 1997.

Overall, six Hawkeye head coaches earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors, six Hawkeyes were named conference Player/Athlete of the Year, and three Hawkeyes earned Freshman of the Year honors. Sixteen of Iowa’s 24 sports programs advanced to postseason competition (team or individuals).

The program’s all-time wins leader and the dean of Big Ten women’s basketball head coaches, Lisa Bluder guided Iowa to 20 wins and a fifth place finish in the Big Ten in 2021. Bluder coached the Hawkeyes to the program’s 26th NCAA Tournament and eighth Sweet 16.

Bluder was recognized as the 2019 Naismith College Coach of the Year, is a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, and a two-time WBCA Regional Coach of the Year. She has guided the Hawkeyes to two Big Ten Tournament championships (2001, 2019). Iowa has recorded 20 wins or more 12 of the last 14 years and finished third or better in the Big Ten standings four of the last seven seasons under her direction.

Bluder recruited and coached Caitlin Clark to heights never seen by a Hawkeye freshman before. The guard was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, consensus national co-Freshman of the Year, a consensus All-American, and the recipient of the Dawn Staley Award, which is presented to the nation’s best guard. Clark poured in 799 points in 30 games (26.6 ppg). Bluder also coached 2019 Naismith and Associated Press National Player of the Year, Megan Gustafson, who is Iowa’s all-time leading scorer with 2,804 points.

Bluder’s contract now runs through June of 2026.

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