Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

Lisa Bluder retires after Clark-led Iowa teams reach past 2 NCAA title games. Jensen named successor

Sport

Lisa Bluder retires after Clark-led Iowa teams reach past 2 NCAA title games. Jensen named successor
Sport

Sport

Lisa Bluder retires after Clark-led Iowa teams reach past 2 NCAA title games. Jensen named successor

2024-05-15 02:25 Last Updated At:02:32

Lisa Bluder, who coached the Iowa women's basketball team to the past two NCAA championship games, announced Monday that she is retiring after 24 years leading the Hawkeyes.

Her longtime assistant, Jan Jensen, was selected as her successor.

Bluder made the announcement five weeks after Iowa lost to South Carolina in the national title game and superstar Caitlin Clark ended her college career.

“There is no denying that this past season was incredible for so many reasons, and we could not have accomplished our achievements without all of you,” Bluder said in an open letter to fans. "After the season ended, I spent time with our student-athletes and coaches reviewing the season and preparing those moving on for what comes next.

“With that also came personal contemplation about what this journey has meant to me, how to best champion this program, and what the future looks like for my family and me. After then taking some time away with my husband, David, it became clear to me that I am ready to step aside.”

The 63-year-old Bluder retires as the all-time Big Ten coaching wins leader with a 528-254 record at Iowa, including 65-12 the past two years with Clark leading the way. She was 716-359 including her 10 seasons at Drake.

“I'm happy for her. I called her and talked to her on the phone,” said Clark on Tuesday. “I think she probably put a lot of thought into it. I couldn't be more happy for her. I mean I probably took a couple years off of her career, her having to coach me. The program is going to be in really good shape with Coach J taking over. ”

Jensen, 55, was associate head coach under Bluder for 20 years and was with Bluder for a total of 24 at Iowa and eight at Drake. Jensen is a beloved figure in the Hawkeye State. She was one of the highest-scoring players ever in six-on-six basketball at Elk Horn-Kimballton and was an All-America player for Drake in Des Moines. She has spent her entire coaching career in the state.

“There is no better person to lead this program than Jan Jensen and I am thrilled she will have the opportunity to build on the foundation established," Bluder said. "I’m committed to help her, and her staff, in whatever capacity they need moving forward.”

Jensen, who played her senior season at Drake with Bluder as her coach, said she is elated to begin her first head coaching job.

“I have been so blessed to have enjoyed an incredible ride with Lisa,” Jensen said. “That ride started when I was her player and continued for 33 years as I had the privilege to work alongside of her. I can’t thank Lisa enough for her mentorship, leadership, and most of all her friendship. I am so proud of all we accomplished and grateful for all the memories we created."

The Hawkeyes won two shared Big Ten regular-season championships and five conference tournament titles and made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances under Bluder, who had only one losing season.

The arrival of Clark, whose primary Iowa recruiter was Jensen, elevated the program and played a primary role in raising the profile of the women's game in the United States with her dynamic offensive game.

Clark became the NCAA Division I career scoring leader for both men and women and set many other records as she dazzled fans with her long-distance 3-pointers and precision passing. She started every game from 2020-24, with Iowa going 109-30. She was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever and will play her first regular-season game Tuesday at Connecticut.

Bluder's 2023 team was Iowa's first to make a Final Four and championship game, and with Clark and a veteran supporting cast returning, the Hawkeyes repeated the feat this past season. They came up short both times, losing to LSU in 2023 and South Carolina last month.

Kate Martin, who spent the past six seasons at Iowa and is now with the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA, said she was shocked to hear Bluder was retiring. Martin found out during a scheduled media availability with the Aces.

“She’s coached at Iowa for as long as I’ve been alive," Martin said, "so she deserves a break and she deserves whatever she’s going to have in her future. And, you know, it’s family time, relaxation.”

Martin added, laughing, “Lord knows we put her through enough so I’m really happy for her. She will be missed. She’s one of the greatest of all time.”

AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg contributed to this story.

AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball

FILE - Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder, left, stands with associate head coach Jan Jensen, right, before an NCAA college basketball game against Nebraska, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. Bluder announced Monday, May 13, 2024, she is retiring after leading the Hawkeyes for 24 seasons. Jensen, longtime assistant to Bluder, was named the new head coach of the Iowa women's basketball team. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

FILE - Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder, left, stands with associate head coach Jan Jensen, right, before an NCAA college basketball game against Nebraska, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Iowa City, Iowa. Bluder announced Monday, May 13, 2024, she is retiring after leading the Hawkeyes for 24 seasons. Jensen, longtime assistant to Bluder, was named the new head coach of the Iowa women's basketball team. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Iowa women's NCAA college basketball head coach Lisa Bluder arrives on the Red Carpet before the world premiere and screening of Episode 1 of the upcoming ESPN+ Original Series Full Court Press, Monday, May 6, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Iowa women's NCAA college basketball head coach Lisa Bluder arrives on the Red Carpet before the world premiere and screening of Episode 1 of the upcoming ESPN+ Original Series Full Court Press, Monday, May 6, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Iowa women's NCAA college basketball head coach Lisa Bluder arrives on the Red Carpet before the world premiere and screening of Episode 1 of the upcoming ESPN+ Original Series Full Court Press, Monday, May 6, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Iowa women's NCAA college basketball head coach Lisa Bluder arrives on the Red Carpet before the world premiere and screening of Episode 1 of the upcoming ESPN+ Original Series Full Court Press, Monday, May 6, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Next Article

Alex Jones could lose his Infowars platform to pay for Sandy Hook conspiracy lawsuit

2024-06-14 22:39 Last Updated At:22:40

HOUSTON (AP) — Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appears on the brink of losing the Infowars media platform that he turned into a multimillion-dollar moneymaker over the past 25 years, as a bankruptcy judge is set to rule on whether to liquidate his assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston.

Jones has been telling his web viewers and radio listeners that Infowars' parent company, Free Speech Systems, is on the verge of being shut down because of the bankruptcy. He entered the courtroom about 30 minutes before Friday’s hearing was set to start. A headline on Infowars’ website said: “Watch Live! Will This Be The Final Day Of Infowars Transmissions?”

Jones has been urging his followers to download videos from his online archive to preserve them and pointing them to a new website of his father's company if they want to continue buying the dietary supplements he sells on his show.

“I think it’s very accurate to say Infowars is a sinking ship,” Jones said on his show Wednesday, later adding that it could be a matter of hours or days when he loses the company.

“Infowars will live on through all the great work we’ve done, all the reports we’ve filed, through you saving them and you sharing them, and of course I will come back stronger than ever," he said. “But I’m going to stay with the ship until it fully sinks. ... At the last moment, I will then step onto the next ship.”

A liquidation would mean Jones' assets would be sold off. It could also mean Jones loses ownership of Free Speech Systems, Infowars, the company's social media accounts and all copyrights. Final details are not yet decided. Some of Jones' supporters, including former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone, have suggested they might try to buy Infowars.

Messages seeking comment ahead of Friday's hearing were left for bankruptcy lawyers for Jones and Free Speech Systems. Jones has about $9 million in personal assets, while his company has about $4 million in cash on hand, according to the most recent financial filings in court.

Jones and Austin, Texas-based Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy protection in 2022, when relatives of many victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that killed 20 first graders and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, won lawsuit judgments of more than $1.4 billion in Connecticut and $49 million in Texas.

Lawyers for the Sandy Hook families have been seeking liquidation.

“Doing so will enable the Connecticut families to enforce their $1.4 billion in judgments now and into the future while also depriving Jones of the ability to inflict mass harm as he has done for some 25 years,” Chris Mattei, a lawyer for the families in the Connecticut case, said.

The relatives said they were traumatized by Jones’ comments and his followers' actions. They testified about being harassed and threatened by Jones’ believers, some of whom confronted the grieving families in person saying the shooting never happened and their children never existed. One parent said someone threatened to dig up his dead son's grave.

Jones and Free Speech Systems initially filed for bankruptcy reorganization protection that would have allowed him to run Infowars while paying the families with revenues from his show. But the two sides couldn't agree on a final plan, and Jones recently filed for permission to switch his personal bankruptcy from a reorganization to a liquidation.

The families in the Connecticut lawsuit, including relatives of eight dead children and adults, have asked that Free Speech Systems' separate bankruptcy case also be converted to a liquidation. But the parents in the Texas suit — whose child, 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, died — want the company's case dismissed.

Lawyers for the company filed documents indicating it supported liquidation, but attorneys for Jones' personal bankruptcy case filed a motion Wednesday saying he does not support that plan and wants the judge to dismiss the company's case.

If Free Speech Systems’ case is dismissed, the company could return to the same position it was in after the $1.5 billion was awarded in the lawsuits. Efforts to collect the damages would go back to the state courts in Texas and Connecticut. That could give Infowars an extended lifeline as collection efforts played out.

Although he has since acknowledged that the Sandy Hook shooting happened, Jones has been saying on his recent shows that Democrats and the “deep state” are conspiring to shut down his companies and take away his free speech rights because of his views. He also has said the Sandy Hook families are being used as pawns in the conspiracy. The families’ lawyers say that is nonsense.

According to the most recent financial statements filed in the bankruptcy court, Jones personally has about $9 million in assets, including his $2.6 million Austin-area home and other real estate. He listed his living expenses at about $69,000 for April alone, including about $16,500 for expenses on his home.

Free Speech Systems, which employs 44 people, made nearly $3.2 million in April, including from selling the dietary supplements, clothing and other items that Jones promotes on his show, while listing $1.9 million in expenses.

The families have a pending lawsuit in Texas accusing Jones of illegally diverting and hiding millions of dollars. Jones has denied the allegations.

Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut.

The Bob Casey Federal Courthouse is shown Friday, June 14, 2024, in Houston, before the expected appearance of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a hearing in front of a bankruptcy judge. The judge is expected to rule on whether to liquidate Jones' assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Bob Casey Federal Courthouse is shown Friday, June 14, 2024, in Houston, before the expected appearance of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a hearing in front of a bankruptcy judge. The judge is expected to rule on whether to liquidate Jones' assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Bob Casey Federal Courthouse is shown Friday, June 14, 2024, in Houston, before the expected appearance of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a hearing in front of a bankruptcy judge. The judge is expected to rule on whether to liquidate Jones' assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Bob Casey Federal Courthouse is shown Friday, June 14, 2024, in Houston, before the expected appearance of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a hearing in front of a bankruptcy judge. The judge is expected to rule on whether to liquidate Jones' assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

FILE - Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where authorities say a gunman opened fire, Dec. 14, 2012. Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appears on the brink of losing the Infowars media platform that he turned into a multimillion-dollar moneymaker, as a bankruptcy judge is set to rule, Friday, June 14, 2024, whether to liquidate his assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

FILE - Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where authorities say a gunman opened fire, Dec. 14, 2012. Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appears on the brink of losing the Infowars media platform that he turned into a multimillion-dollar moneymaker, as a bankruptcy judge is set to rule, Friday, June 14, 2024, whether to liquidate his assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Bill Sherlach, husband of Mary, one of the Sandy Hook School shooting victims, speaks to the media after jurors returned a $965 million dollar judgement in the defamation trial against Alex Jones, in Waterbury, Conn., Oct. 12, 2022. Jones appears to be on the brink of losing the Infowars media platform that he turned into a multimillion-dollar moneymaker, as a bankruptcy judge is set to rule, Friday, June 14, 2024, whether to liquidate his assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Bill Sherlach, husband of Mary, one of the Sandy Hook School shooting victims, speaks to the media after jurors returned a $965 million dollar judgement in the defamation trial against Alex Jones, in Waterbury, Conn., Oct. 12, 2022. Jones appears to be on the brink of losing the Infowars media platform that he turned into a multimillion-dollar moneymaker, as a bankruptcy judge is set to rule, Friday, June 14, 2024, whether to liquidate his assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

FILE - Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones takes the witness stand to testify at the Sandy Hook defamation damages trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn., Sept. 22, 2022. Jones appears to be on the brink of losing the Infowars media platform he turned into a multimillion-dollar moneymaker, as a bankruptcy judge is set to rule Friday, June 14, 2024, whether to liquidate his assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)

FILE - Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones takes the witness stand to testify at the Sandy Hook defamation damages trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn., Sept. 22, 2022. Jones appears to be on the brink of losing the Infowars media platform he turned into a multimillion-dollar moneymaker, as a bankruptcy judge is set to rule Friday, June 14, 2024, whether to liquidate his assets to help pay the $1.5 billion he owes for his false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)

Recommended Articles