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Editor’s note: This is ninth in a series counting down the Top 50 moments in Iowa Hawkeyes women’s athletics history in the 50 days leading up to the 50th anniversary of Title IX in June.
Iowa’s hire of Lisa Bluder as women’s basketball head coach in 2000 undoubtedly worked out.
Bluder is one of four active Division I women’s basketball coaches with at least 800 wins.
But the Bluder-Iowa pairing wasn’t always so obvious. Bluder overcame a handful of challenges to become the head coach of Iowa women’s basketball.
She first applied for the job in 1995 when C. Vivian Stringer retired, but Iowa picked Angie Lee. Looking back, Bluder sees that as a positive.
“It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because I became a better coach in those five years,” Bluder said. “Looking back, it was a blessing.”
Then when Lee resigned, the timing was far from ideal for Bluder, who was eight months pregnant.
That didn’t deter Bluder, the head coach at Drake, from trying again.
“Sometimes people hold themselves back because the timing is not perfect,” Bluder said. “The timing is never going to be perfect. If it’s something you want, you should go for it.”
Bluder’s phone interview didn’t go as well as it could’ve — “OK” but not “great,” she said. So she called women’s athletics director Christine Grant the next day.
“Dr. Grant, I don’t think I sold myself enough,” Bluder told Grant. “I think I was too Midwest nice, and I did not do a good job.”
“No, Lisa, I don’t think you did,” Bluder recalled Grant telling her in her Scottish accent.
Bluder then “proceeded to give her the reasons why Dr. Grant should hire me.”
“I’m so thankful that I did that,” Bluder said.
Many Iowa fans are surely thankful, too.
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