Iowa women’s coach Lisa Bluder is the 2008 Big Ten Coach of the Year in votes by both the media and coaches, after guiding the Hawkeyes to a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a 13-5 league record and 20-9 overall mark. The Hawkeyes had struggled to a 14-16 mark last year, including 6-10 in the conference, in the wake of several injuries. Bluder says it’s good to see that turned around.
"It’s been kind of like a Disney movie, I kind of explain it that way," Bluder says, "Good things have happened to people who have really went through a lot of adversity in the last couple of years." Iowa started the Big Ten season slowly at 2-3,and there were some rumblings that Bluder’s job might be in jeopardy. But Bluder says she never felt that way.
Bluder says she doesn’t get on message boards and read that kind of stuff and says she never had a single conversation about her job like that with the athletic director. "No matter what happens in my coaching career right now, I could walk away right now and feel very very satisfied with the coach that I’ve been, the person that I am," Bluder says,"I believe that as a staff we’ve done everything clean. We’ve never cheated we’ve never done anything like that. We’re a group that believes highly in integrity and academics."
Bluder says winning a share of the Big Ten title isn’t a total surprise for her staff and team. Bluder says at the beginning of the year they had set a goal that they wanted to finish in the top three of the conference and had motivation when they were picked to finish lower. This is the second time Bluder has won coach of the year in her eight seasons at Iowa, the last time in 2001.
Iowa junior point guard Kristi Smith was named to the all-conference first team, Johanna Sovlerson to the second team and Magan Skouby was named the sixth player of the year. Iowa opens the Big Ten tournament on Friday against the winner of the Michigan/Penn State game.