All About Caitlin Clark’s Coach Lisa Bluder, Head of Iowa Women’s Basketball

Get to know the head coach of the University of Iowa’s women’s basketball team.

Lisa Bluder is the driving force behind the Hawkeyes’ eight straight 20-win seasons, a reflection of her remarkable decades-long career as a D1 head coach.

Named the dean of Big Ten coaches, Bluder has broken Iowa records and established herself as the all-time winningest coach in program history. Now, she’s taking her team to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament for the second straight season.

Bluder isn’t the only name behind the Hawkeyes’ most recent successes. Among the standouts on the unstoppable team is Caitlin Clark, who made history as the all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s basketball during the game that saw Iowa’s 106-89 victory over Michigan on Feb. 15 this year.

On March 3, Clark broke another record becoming the highest all-time basketball scorer in NCAA Division I basketball, having logged more points than any other man or woman.

Bluder has praised Clark’s game, while the all-time leading scorer has reciprocated the respect to her coach. “It’s an exciting time to be part of women’s basketball,” Bluder told Good Morning America amid the hype.

Read on to learn more about Lisa Bluder, coach of Iowa University women’s basketball team.

She was a standout basketball player herself

Lisa Bluder of the Iowa Hawkeyes cuts down the net after beating the LSU Tigers in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in April 2024.

Andy Lyons/Getty

Lisa Bluder is from Marion, Iowa. She graduated from Linn-Mar High School in 1979 before enrolling at the University of Northern Iowa, where she was a three-year starter for the women’s basketball team.

Throughout her collegiate career, Bluder was a standout player. She played 108 games, averaged 9.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and topped Panther record books — compiling a 57-30 record during her days on the court, per her UNI Hall of Fame bio.

She has coached D1 women’s basketball for 40 years

Lisa Bluder of the Iowa Hawkeyes looks on mid game on Feb. 28, 2024.

David Berding/Getty

Bluder has coached collegiate women’s basketball for 40 years, heading various D1 teams within Iowa. Her accomplished career began at St. Ambrose University in Davenport during the 1983-84 season.

After a successful streak at St. Ambrose, Bluder went on to coach women’s basketball at Drake University for 10 seasons from 1990 to 2000. Her time there was transformative, leading the Bulldogs to five, 20-plus-win seasons in the six years — including five post-season appearances.

In April 2000, Bluder was introduced as the University of Iowa’s fifth head coach of the women’s basketball team and has solidified herself as the all-time winningest coach in program history since.

She says Caitlin Clark is at her ‘very best’ in the spotlight

Lisa Bluder looks on as Caitlin Clark is recognized for breaking the Big Ten’s all-time women scoring record in February 2024.

Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Bluder has coached Clark since her freshman season, where she started as a point guard and made her collegiate debut on Nov. 25, 2020. Bluder has praised the player throughout her rise to stardom.

“She’s absolutely amazing,” Bluder told Good Morning America following her team’s 94-87 win over LSU in the Elite Eight leg of the 2024 NCAA tournament. “She has been consistent throughout her entire career, but when the spotlight is on, she is at her very best at that time.”

“I could never have fathomed the amount of interest that we are getting right now in our game,” she said. “When I played and when I started coaching, you know, you’re begging people to come and watch your team play. And now it’s so fulfilling.”

“We always knew there was something special about her. She’s always been a little different in a good way,” Bluder previously said of Clark’s game. She told GMA, “It’s an exciting time to be part of women’s basketball.”

Caitlin Clark calls her a ‘Hall of Fame coach’

Caitlin Clark takes selfie with coach Lisa Bluder after victorious game against the Louisville Cardinals in March 2023.

Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Bluder’s awe of Clark is clearly reciprocated. “Coach Bluder is a Hall of Fame coach,” Clark said on March 31 ahead of Iowa’s victorious rematch of 2023’s national title game with LSU.

“I think the biggest thing for me throughout the recruiting process that I loved about her is she’s a player’s coach. She’s not going to have a set offense that you have to run,” Clark continued of Bluder. “She’s going to tailor everything to what she has on her team and what’s going to put her team in positions to be very successful.”

Clark called Bluder “one of the best our game has ever seen” and attributed many of her accomplishments to Bluder, per the Daily Iowan. “Over the course of my four years, I don’t know if I would have the type of success I do if I didn’t have amazing teammates but also a coach who really allows me to be myself,” Clark continued. “For that, I’m forever grateful.”

She’s married to David Bluder

Lisa Bluder and her husband, David, pose with his book “The Great Gamble.”.

Bluder is married to author David Bluder, a Northern Iowa University alum. There, he earned a degree in business before receiving his MBA at St. Ambrose University.

Prior to becoming an author, David was a banker, politician, business owner and investor. He also taught Business Policies at the University of Iowa, per his website bio.

In April 2020, David made his book debut with The Great Gamble. The story chronicles a young basketball recruit and how sports gambling changes the game.

“‘When you combine gambling with sports, a lot of us have seen how detrimental it is,” David told The Gazette one month after the book’s release. “I’m never going to be able to watch sports the same way again.”

She is the mother of three kids

Lisa and David Bluder sit alongside their son David Jr. as he commits to college.


Bluder and David share three kids: Hannah, Emma and David Jr. The proud mom often posts her children’s’ accomplishments on her social media page.

“Even though I hate to see her in purple, proud to see my daughter, Hannah graduate from Northwestern University with her masters degree. Hard to do with a full-time job! Bravo, Hannah!,” Bluder wrote alongside a photo of her daughter in a cap and gown on Instagram in June 2023.

In August 2022, Bluder shared a photo of David Jr. on the golf course after accomplishing a near-impossible feat. “Congratulations Jack on a hole in one in your first high school golf meet!! On a par 4 even!! Amazing!” she captioned the post.

Bluder shared a sentimental note alongside a tribute to her second daughter Emma when she moved into her college dorm in August 2019. “When I became the basketball coach at The University of Iowa, I was pregnant with my second daughter. Today I moved her into the dorms here at Iowa. Full circle day!” she captioned the pic on Instagram.

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