Iowa Women's Basketball

Iowa announces women's basketball staff shuffling

Formerly associate head coach, Jenni Fitzgerald will serve as a 'special assistant to the head coach'

Iowa Hawkeyes associate head coaches Jenni Fitzgerald and Jan Jensen, and head coach Lisa Bluder talk during the 2019 girls' state basketball tournament. Fitzgerald will change roles in the program, becoming a special assistant to the head coach. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes associate head coaches Jenni Fitzgerald and Jan Jensen, and head coach Lisa Bluder talk during the 2019 girls' state basketball tournament. Fitzgerald will change roles in the program, becoming a special assistant to the head coach. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Jenni Fitzgerald has been at Lisa Bluder’s side for the better part of the past three decades.

She isn’t going away. But her role will change somewhat.

Fitzgerald, who — along with Jan Jensen — came to the University of Iowa women’s basketball program with Bluder in 2000, will serve as a “special assistant to the head coach” going forward, the university said in a release Monday.

“After being in Division I basketball for the past 33 years — four as a player and 29 as a coach — I have decided it is time to take a step back from coaching and assume a different role within our basketball program,” Fitzgerald said in the release.

Bluder said in a phone interview Monday that Fitzgerald’s primary role will be making scouting reports on upcoming opponents and evaluation of recruits via video.

“This is something that has been brewing for a little while,” Bluder said. “Jenni has been wanting to focus on a certain part of coaching, and not the recruiting aspect. She’ll still be close by, and she’ll still be on the bench. She won’t be able to talk to the players, just the coaches.

“We worked together to make this work. She has so much to offer this program.”

A 1990 graduate of Drake University, Fitzgerald has been an assistant to Bluder — first at Drake, then at Iowa — virtually ever since. She joined Jensen as an associate head coach in 2017.

In other moves, Abby Stamp has been promoted from director of player development to interim assistant coach, and Kathryn Reynolds — formerly the director of basketball operations — will assume Stamp’s former role.

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As Abby Emmert, Stamp played for the Hawkeyes from 2005 through 2008. Reynolds played from 2011 through 2015 and was a co-captain on a Sweet 16 team as a senior.

“Abby has paid her dues for 10 years. She’s been at every game, every practice,” said Bluder, who added that Stamp is “the lead candidate” to become an assistant on a permanent basis.

A search for a new director of operations is ongoing.

Iowa was 29-7 last season, won the Big Ten tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

The Hawkeyes will leave Aug. 7 for a summer trip to Spain.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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