Lisa Bluder will be on the brink of a career milestone when the Iowa women’s basketball team visits Michigan State today.
The Hawkeyes coach, whose career began at St. Ambrose, will become the 25th women’s basketball coach with at least 10 years at a Division-I school to win 600 games with Iowa’s next win.
“It’s something I haven’t thought a lot about, but I did once this year because before the Robert Morris game I was talking with one of their assistants. A kind of young guy, and he said to me, ‘Wow, you almost have 600 wins.’ I was like, ‘Yeah,’ and he goes, ‘How many more years you got in ya?’” Bluder said.
“I guess it has been a long time, but I had never been asked before by another coach how many years do you have left in ya. I hope I have a lot left in me.”
Bluder’s coaching career began in Davenport in 1984, when Jim Fox, the St. Ambrose director of athletics at the time, took a chance on a 24-year-old Northern Iowa graduate. Her first win came in her coaching debut, an 88-77 victory over Clarke, the start of an 18-13 rookie season.
Bluder coached the Queen Bees to four NAIA national tournament berths and a pair of Final Four appearances while building a 169-36 record over six seasons before leaving for Drake in 1990, the only other program she has coached before taking over at Iowa.
“I’ve been really fortunate to be at three great places, all in the state of Iowa,” Bluder said. “I’m proud of that, St. Ambrose, Drake and now here at the University of Iowa, it really is a dream come true.”
The Hawkeyes (13-4, 2-1 Big Ten) have had a week to prepare for the 5 p.m. game with the Spartans (14-2,
2-1), the first of three games Iowa plays over the next eight days. Iowa hosts 12th-rated Purdue at 3 p.m. on Sunday and Wisconsin one week from tonight.
By the numbers
Lisa Bluder’s career coaching record by school:
St. Ambrose (1984-90) 169-36
Drake (1990-2000) 187-106
Iowa (2000-present) 243-148
What: Iowa at Michigan State
When: 5 p.m., today
Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich.