Lisa Bluder’s impact on Iowa basketball goes beyond the court

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 10:45 AM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWQC) - Lisa Bluder is Iowa women’s basketball’s all-time winningest coach. Her players, though, say she’s not solely focused on wins and losses.

“I’ve just learned how to be a confident woman on the court and off the court, and I’m really thankful for her for that,” said Kate Martin, a redshirt senior on the Iowa women’s basketball team. “I think she tries to develop us into great female leaders, and strong female leaders, and stand up for what we believe in, and stand up for what we think is right, and being a voice in the room. Coach Bluder, she really cares about us as players, but she really cares about us as people more importantly. She calls us her kids all the time.”

Senior Gabbie Marshall said coach Bluder has been a role model and kept it real since her initial visit to campus.

“I mean, [she’s] so positive, such a strong leader, and that’s what she tries to instill in us on and off the court,” Marshall said. “She’s done so much for me, and this team. I mean, I’m just so lucky to play for her.”

Bluder is now the all-time winningest coach in Big Ten regular season wins. Her coaching career, though, started in the Quad Cities at St. Ambrose, where she coached from 1984 to 1990.

“[St. Ambrose] was everything to me. You know, they took a risk on me, someone without any experience, and they backed me, they supported me. If it wasn’t for St. Ambrose, I wouldn’t be at the University of Iowa now,” Bluder said. ”I know that, and I’m thankful for that.”

As the women’s NCAA tournament prepares to tip off, Bluder and the Hawkeyes have their eyes set on getting back to the final four for the second time in school history, and the first since the 1992-93 season.

“When you have great kids, when you have women that really buy in, believe in each other, believe in the coaches, want to represent this great university when you have those types of things, you can accomplish a lot, and that’s why this team is different,” Bluder said. “They are so locked in.”

“It sounds cheesy, but every day when I step on the court, I want to do good for her, want to make her proud. If we could take her to the final four, that would be a dream come true,” Martin said.

Coach Bluder and the Hawkeyes have won two consecutive Big Ten tournament championships.