Iowa Basketball Coach Becomes Winningest Coach in Big 10 History
The University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame holds 3 floors of Hawkeye greatness. You'll find hall-of-fame football players, baseball players, field hockey stars, golfers, soccer players, baseball coaches, and even a Director of Physical Education inductee.
According to the Hawkeye Sports Hall of Fame, there are 214 inductees (if I counted correctly) in the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame. There should be another coach added to that list when her career is over.
The Iowa Women's basketball team beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday (12-10-2022) which made for a historical moment for head coach Lisa Bluder. On Saturday, she became the Big Tens' all-time winningest coach.
The record was previously held by someone Hawkeyes fans might recognize. C Vivian Stringer was the Hawkeyes coach from 1983-1995, according to KCRG. She eventually moved on to Rutgers, where she coached for 27 years. The win on Saturday marked the 234th Big Ten win of Bluder's career.
In her post-game press conference, Bluder wanted to make sure players and fans alike knew that it was an honor she shares with Jan Jensen and Jenni Fitzgerald. According to Hawkeye Sports, Jan Jensen is in her 23rd season with the Hawkeyes and this is her 19th as the associate head coach. According to Hawkeye Sports, Fitzgerald has been with the Hawkeyes for 23 years and entered this year as her 4th year as an Assistant to the Head Coach.
According to KCRG, in her post-game press conference, Bluder said,
Obviously, Jan Jensen and Jenny Fitzgerald have been there for every single one of those Big Ten wins, so I don’t consider it my honor. I consider it our honor.
Bluder also spoke about how much she respects the former record holder and Hawkeye coach, C Vivian Stringer. She said,
The only thing that’s odd about it to me is that C. Vivian Stringer had it and as a young coach at St. Ambrose, I’d come over and work her camps and sneak into her practices and pick her ear. Now, it just seems kind of odd because I have so much respect for C. Vivian Stringer
One of the biggest reasons for coach Bluder and her staff's success is how much they care about the players. It's more than just basketball, they're more like a family. One of the core players for this Hawkeye team is senior guard, Caitlin Clark, and she spoke about Bluder's relationship with the team. According to KCRG, Clark said
I think the biggest thing for me is that she cares about us more as people than basketball players. I promise you it’s not like that everywhere else. A lot of people are like, ‘This is a brand, a business.’ Here, we’re like a family. We know there’s way more important things in life than putting a ball through the hoop or getting a win.
To be considered the winningest at just about anything deserves a handshake and huge congratulations. To Bluder, her staff, and Hawkeye's team, good luck going forward for the rest of the season. Hopefully, we can see Bluder add a lot more wins to that total mark as the season continues. The Iowa Women's Basketball team is on a little bit of a break as they will get back on the court on December 18th. They'll play host to Northern Iowa.