Decorated Iowa basketball coach Lisa Bluder announced her retirement on Monday, with assistant coach Jan Jensen next in line to take over the head coaching position.

Bluder retires as the winningest women’s basketball coach in Big Ten history, amassing 528 wins and five Big Ten tournament titles over her 24 years. During her time at the helm, Iowa made 18 NCAA tournament appearances, including back-to-back trips to the National Championship with star guard Caitlin Clark

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"It has been the honor of my career to be a part of the Iowa Hawkeye family," Bluder wrote in a statement. "And to lead a women's basketball program filled with so many talented and remarkable young women, who have gone on to do great things in their careers and, more importantly, in their lives."

She spent the last few years coaching the remarkable Caitlin Clark. The eventual No. 1 overall pick in April’s WNBA Draft, Clark became the all-time leading scorer in D-I basketball, men’s or women’s, this past season, winning back-to-back Naismith Player of the Year awards under Bluder's leadership. 

In a tweet posted Monday, Clark reacted to Bluder’s retirement by thanking her.

"Simply no one better at building a team," Clark wrote. "Thank you for believing in me more than anyone. Enjoy retirement, coach. Very much deserved."

Bluder said Monday that her decision to retire came as she began preparing for the offseason. The longtime coach has previously said she was taking it year-by-year.

"After the season ended, I spent time with our student-athletes and coaches reviewing the season and preparing those moving on for what comes next," Bluder said. "With that also came personal contemplation about what this journey has meant to me, how to best champion this program and what the future looks like for my family and me. After then taking some time away with my husband, David, it became clear to me that I am ready to step aside.

"There is never an ideal time to retire, and I am sure this fall that I will miss the games, the practices, the road trips, the atmosphere, the tremendous fans and, most importantly, the players. But my belief in the foundation of this program, knowing that success is now an unrelenting component of women's basketball at the University of Iowa gives me comfort as I transition to become the program's biggest champion."

Bluder's coaching tenure dates back to 1985, when she coached at St. Ambrose University for six seasons before accepting a head coaching job at Drake in 1991. During her nine years in Des Moines, Bluder led the Bulldogs to four Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championships (1995, 1997, 1998, 2000) alongside three regular season titles (1997, 1998, 2000).

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Assistant head coach Jan Jensen has been tapped to take over the role at Iowa, having worked shoulder to shoulder with the outgoing Bluder for a major part of her career. After playing under Bluder at Drake, Jensen moved on to join her former coach off the court as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs.

"I love Jan to death," 2019 Naismith Player of the Year Megan Gustafson told The Gazette. "She deserves this, and she’s ready for it."

Gustafson's former Iowa teammate, post player Monika Czinano, echoed the sentiment. 

"It’s the perfect succession line, in my opinion," Czinano said. "She’s one of the main reasons for my development. She’s ready for it."

Iowa basketball just missed out on its first No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25 since 1988. But that “doesn’t matter,” head coach Lisa Bluder said.

The Hawkeyes moved up one spot to No. 2 following losses by the previous top two teams, LSU and UConn, in the opening week of the season. South Carolina jumped five spots to become the new No. 1.

UCLA, Utah and Colorado round out the top five in the new poll, released Monday, followed by No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 LSU and No. 8 UConn.

“We’ll see,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said about the No. 1 ranking after Sunday’s 94-53 win against Northern Iowa. “It really doesn’t matter if we are or not. It’s a long year. What are we this week? Three? That’s darn good too.”

Star senior Caitlin Clark agreed, saying: “I think it was a good (week), it gets you off on the right note. But our group is mature enough to know this is just the starting block.”

The Hawkeyes were buoyed, of course, by Clark. After putting up 44 points in an 80-76 win against No. 8 Virginia Tech on Thursday, she put up the 12th triple-double of her career against UNI.

Her 24 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds made history: She is now Iowa’s all-time leading scorer. And she joins Oregon-turned-WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu as the only NCAA Division I players to record triple-doubles in four separate seasons. Ionescu finished her career with 26, and Clark is second on the all-time list.

Following Iowa’s win over UNI, Panthers head coach Tanya Warren called Clark “the best player in the country.”

“Caitlin Clark is the best player in the country,” Warren said. “No ifs, ands or buts about it. You’re not going to stop her, you’re not going to contain her. You just want to make things tough for her.”

Ahead of the game, Clark knew she was close to Iowa’s all-time scoring record, which was held by former national player of the year and current Phoenix Mercury center Megan Gustafson.

“Megan’s been our biggest fan on this whole journey,” Clark said. “Megan reached out to me last night and said, ‘You’re very, very deserving of this. Go out there and do it.’ It’s not the first time she’s reached out and texted me. She’s always there. And that’s not fake — Megan is one of the best people of all time.”

And Gustafson gave Clark praise following the record-breaking performance.

“Congrats on breaking my record,” she said. “As soon as I watched you play as a freshman I really did know that, my record [was] not gonna last very long. But that’s a huge tribute to the program that Iowa has built, that you have built. You’ve inspired so many kids, boys and girls, all over the world, all over the state of Iowa.”

But Clark doesn’t want to hold onto the record.

“Records are meant to be broken,” she said. “So I hope Iowa has a really great player one day who can break mine, too.”