The Truth About Caitlin Clark's Coach, Lisa Bluder

College coaching veteran Lisa Bluder has made a name for herself, and it's no secret among NCAA women's basketball fans. But how well do most casual viewers know her?

On April 1, 2024, the University of Iowa's women's basketball team achieved a groundbreaking win when they beat Louisana State University, 94-87. The incredible feat was reached after star player Caitlin Clark scored a whopping 41 points during the game. Due to their exciting victory, the Iowa-based team scored a Final Four placement at the NCAA tournament alongside North Carolina State, South Carolina University, and the University of Connecticut.

While Clark has become so popular that she earns big paychecks for her commercial appearances, her teammates' contributions haven't gone unnoticed, and many have also praised Bluder for leading the talented team to a second straight Final Four, a success that joins her long list of career achievements. When discussing the team's win to, the experienced head coach said, "I mean, it just feels great... It just feels darn good to be in a Final Four again because it's such a hard accomplishment." In light of her team's postseason success, let's take a deeper look at Bluder's life on and off the court.

Lisa Bluder has coached college basketball for a long time

When it comes to basketball and coaching, there are few better experts than Lisa Bluder, who has coached the sport for 40 years. Her journey leading from the sidelines first started in 1984, when she became the St. Ambrose University women's basketball team coach a year after graduating college. Her time with the Queen Bees proved to be successful, as she led the team to four consecutive national tournaments and two Final Four placements. After six years of coaching at St. Ambrose University, Bluder took over as coach for the Drake University Bulldogs. Fortunately, her change of teams was worthwhile. Over the course of 10 years, the Iowa native had a considerable hand in revitalizing the team, leading them to not one but five consecutive 20-win seasons.

When discussing her career success in 2013, Bluder told Corridor Business that coaching has become a way of life for her. She also compared the job to running a business, stating that coaching is more than just leading a team to victory; it's also about creating an enjoyable experience for fans. "I think winning is very important, but it's not the ultimate. Everyone loves a winner, but also when they get here, it's important they're having fun," she told the news outlet. "Psychologically, there's a lot to this job. It's not just about rolling out a basketball."

Lisa is happily married to David Bluder

Outside of her career as head coach of the University of Iowa, Lisa Bluder is a happy wife to author David Bluder. Taken straight out of a rom-com, the pair's love story first started in 1979 after David's mother had the bright idea to set him up with Lisa. "My mom wrote a letter and said, 'I've found a girlfriend for you,'" David told the Des Moines Register. "'She's cute and bubbly and blonde.' My mom was like the 'Fiddler on the Roof' matchmaker." Fortunately, David's mother was right about their connection, with the two later getting married in 1984, following Lisa's graduation from the University of Northern Iowa. Since that fateful day, the two have cultivated a strong and supportive marriage, which can be seen across Lisa's various social media posts.

In March 2020, the beloved basketball coach celebrated the release of her hubby's book "The Great Gamble," which also takes place in the world of college basketball. "Celebrating the fact that my husband, David Bluder, had his book published today after a long journey! The Great Gamble." she wrote on Instagram. In an additional interview with The Athletic, Lisa shared her thoughts on David's book and his 10-year journey creating the piece of work. "I was excited for him because I just thought it gave him a great sense of purpose," she said. "It was something totally different and new, and I really admired him for taking on something entirely new at this stage in our life."

Lisa Bluder was also a college basketball star

Before leading one of the NCAA's most successful teams, University of Iowa coach Lisa Bluder had her own victorious career as a college basketball star. After graduating high school in 1979, she played for the University of Northern Iowa Panthers as a starter for three years. According to her Hall of Fame profile, Bluder garnered an array of accomplishments during her time on the team, playing 108 games and averaging 9.6 points per game. Her 19 rebounds against Illinois-Chicago also made school history as the second-highest in a single game.

In an interview with her alma mater, Bluder opened up about her time as a Panther, including the most memorable game she played. "We beat Southwest Missouri in the West Gym early in my sophomore year," she revealed. Elsewhere in her sitdown, she discussed the rising popularity of women's basketball, describing the newfound attention as wonderful and something inconceivable during her colligate career. "People are now recognizing the amazing talent that we have in women's game, and people respect them for the terrific role models that they are," she said.

Lisa Bluder is a family woman

Lisa Bluder is a lot of things. She's a world-renowned women's basketball coach, a dedicated wife, and a former basketball star. However, in addition to the aforementioned feats, Lisa is a devoted mother to her three kids. Her motherhood journey first started in 1997, when she gave birth to her first daughter, Hannah. Two years later, she welcomed her second daughter, Emma, with her youngest, David Jr, coming into the world in 2002.

Over the years, Lisa has showered her children with love and support as they individually entered adulthood. Like their mother, Hannah and David also developed a passion for basketball, with the former playing the sport until her senior year of high school and the latter currently playing at Grinnell College. As for Emma, the University of Iowa college grad became interested in fashion and music. In 2019, she performed the national anthem at one of the Hawkeye's games during the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. In an interview with The Daily Iowan, Lisa gushed about being a mother, stating that it has helped her strengthen her work as a coach. "I think that actually becoming a mom made me a better coach. I think it gives you more patience. I think it gives you a different compassion level," she told the news outlet.

Lisa Bluder has received countless awards for her coaching prowess

Due to her 40-year-long career as a women's basketball coach, Lisa Bluder is no stranger to receiving awards for her work. In the 1990s, she earned the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year award three times while coaching Drake University's basketball team, per the University of Northern Iowa Hall of Fame website. Bluder continued to gain recognition by her peers after her move to the University of Iowa. In her 24-year career with the Hawkeyes, she has won the Big Ten Coach of the Year award three times and the Naismith Coach of the Year once. 

Lastly, 2024 has also been a massive year for Bluder, with the Iowan being named a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award and earning the coveted Robert D. and Billie Ray Pillar of Character Award, which she'll be receiving on April 19, 2024. "The Robert D. and Billie Ray Pillar of Character Award means so much to me because of the respect I have for former Governor Ray and his wife Billie," she said in a statement. "I can't think of an award more meaningful than one named after their example."