IOWA CITY — When Lisa Bluder was cutting her teeth as a young coach at a small college, she turned to C. Vivian Stringer for guidance.
“I was at St. Ambrose, and I would watch (Stringer’s practices at the University of Iowa),” Bluder said Thursday. I would work her basketball camps. I would watch their game film. Heck, I’d watch their practice film.”
Years have passed, and Bluder is on the verge of replacing Stringer as Iowa’s all-time wins leader.
Bluder can match Stringer’s 269 Iowa victories on Saturday, when the Hawkeyes (17-5 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) host Nebraska. Tipoff is 2 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“It means I’ve been around for a while,” Bluder said. “If you’re fortunate enough to stay somewhere long enough, you have some good opportunities like this. I’m fortunate I’ve had an administration that has backed me here.”
Bluder is in her 14th year at Iowa, where she has crafted a 268-162 record. She is 624-304 in 30 years overall.
Now the coach at Rutgers, Stringer was 269-84 in 12 years at Iowa, guiding the Hawkeyes to their only Final Four appearance, in 1993.
“That’s pretty good company, for Coach Bluder to be up there with (Stringer),” said Iowa point guard Samantha Logic. “She deserves this. She gets people to play well together. She puts people in her system that will be successful. And we play hard for her.”
Bluder coached at St. Ambrose from 1984 through 1990, then was at Drake from 1990 to 2000. She succeeded Angie Lee at Iowa in 2000, and has taken the Hawkeyes to 10 NCAA tournament appearances.
Her last six teams have reached the NCAA.
“She’s a great coach, but the most important thing is how much she cares for us off the court,” said freshman Ally Disterhoft. “She cares for us as young women and as students. We are blessed to play for her.”