Former Iowa head women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder departs as the winningest coach in Big Ten and Hawkeye history.

Under Bluder’s watch, the Hawkeyes compiled a 528-254 (262-145 Big Ten) record. Iowa advanced to each of the past two Final Fours and national championship games.

The Hawkeyes also made five Sweet 16 trips, three Elite Eights and 18 NCAA Tournaments overall with Bluder directing the program.

Bluder was a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year recipient and was named the 2019 Naismith Coach of the Year.

Some might naturally think that Bluder’s biggest regret was not capturing either of the past two national championship games against LSU or South Carolina. But, Bluder shared a different response as she reflected on what led to her retirement and what’s next in her life with the Des Moines Register’s Chad Leistikow.

Bluder recounted a conversation she had with her daughter, Hannah, on Tuesday while walking to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I said, ‘I wish I had known that Ohio State was our last regular-season game. And I wish I would have known that West Virginia was our last (home) game.’ She couldn’t understand why. But to imprint that in your memory a little bit more, I wish I would have known,” Bluder said.

That really puts into perspective how rapidly all of this developed for Bluder, new head coach Jan Jensen and the Hawkeye women’s basketball program.

Bluder didn’t know what the near future would bring during those moments, and, looking back, she wishes that she did and could have soaked it all in just a little bit more.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

A recent vacation to Phoenix with her husband, Dave, is when Bluder reached the conclusion that she would be stepping away.

“Why now? Why not? It’s an opportunity for Dave and I to travel while we’re still healthy. My son (David Jr.) is going to be a senior at Grinnell College next year, and I’ll get to see all of his games. I missed so many of my kids’ things, and it’s time for me to be able to give to them fully. It’s a good time to go out, quite honestly,” Bluder said Tuesday night at the Hilton Garden Inn in West Des Moines, site of a well-attended Polk County I-Club event.

As Bluder noted, the coaching grind is a real one with minimal down time.

“It’s a time-consuming job. It’s nice to be able to breathe a little bit right now and not jump right back into workouts that’ll be starting in a month,” Bluder said.

Here’s to a happy, healthy retirement for coach Bluder.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire


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