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Iowa women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder is retiring after 24 seasons with the Hawkeyes, she announced Monday. Longtime assistant Jan Jensen will be the team's next head coach. 

"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," Bluder said in a statement. "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.

"... It is my hope that now with more time and energy, I can be an asset to our basketball program and this athletics department in any way that I am able." 

Bluder's announcement was unexpected and she did not go into more details as to why she chose to retire this offseason. Over her legendary career, Bluder earned Naismith Coach of the Year honors in 2019 and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2001, 2008 and 2010.

The 63-year-old just guided the Hawkeyes to their second consecutive NCAA championship game appearance. The program had been on the rise while Caitlin Clark became Division I college basketball's all-time leading scorer, but now Iowa is in rebuilding mode as Clark and other key pieces have left for the WNBA.

Jensen, who'll be leading the rebuild in Iowa City, arrived to Iowa in 2000 with Bluder and has been the team's associate head coach for 20 years. They have had a close relationship for a while, as Bluder took the head coaching job at Drake in 1990 when Jensen was in her senior year. Jensen played in Europe after graduating, but she returned to Drake as a graduate assistant and joined Bluder's coaching staff.

Under Bluder, Jensen served as the Hawkeyes' recruiting coordinator while also working with post players. She has been responsible for recruiting several top-20 classes along with four McDonald's All-Americans in Samantha Logic, Lindsay Richards, Johanna Solverson and Caitlin Clark.

While players like Clark, Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall are gone, Iowa has reloaded with the nation's 13th-best recruiting class and the addition of Villanova transfer Lucy Olsen, who ranked third nationally in scoring a season ago. 

Following Bluder's retirement announcement, two Iowa greats congratulated their former coach while heaping praise on Jensen. 

"A LEGEND!! @LisaBluder," wrote Megan Gustafson, the 2019 Naismith Player of the Year. "Congrats on your retirement, you are truly one of a kind. Super blessed to have been coached by you, Love you so much! Anddddd super excited for [Jensen] to be taking over as HC! No one more deserving!"

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

As for Jensen taking over, Clark said the decision was a no-brainer for the future of the Hawkeyes. 

"The only option there ever was!!!" Clark wrote. "You deserve this more than anyone Can't wait to watch you lead this program!!!"