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

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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)

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Student protesters vow 'complete shutdown' in Bangladesh as clashes continue

2024-07-18 19:54 Last Updated At:20:00

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police clashed Thursday with student protesters attempting to impose a “complete shutdown” in Bangladesh’s capital, following days of violent confrontations during demonstrations over a system of allocating government jobs.

Students have been demonstrating for weeks against a quota system for government jobs they say favors allies of the ruling party, but the protests have escalated since violence broke out between protesters, police and pro-government student activists on the campus of Dhaka University on Monday. Six people were killed on Tuesday, leading the government to ask universities across the country to close and police to raid the main opposition party’s headquarters.

As violence continued to take place on Thursday, Bangladesh’s Law Minister Anisul Huq said in the afternoon that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked him to sit with the protesters for a dialogue, and he was ready to sit down on Thursday if protesters were willling.

On Wednesday night, the protesters announced they would enforce “a complete shutdown” across the country on Thursday in response to security officials’ continued attacks on the campus demonstrators. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party said that it would do what it could to make the shutdown a success.

Clashes continued as protesters attempted to enforce the shutdown Thursday morning. In Dhaka's Uttara neighborhood, hundreds of protesters were chased by police after they blocked the road and chanted. In other places, police fired tear gas and charged with batons disperse the protesters, who threw stones in response. Scores, including police, were injured in the violence, said a spokesperson for the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

Police said protesters attacked and set fire to a traffic police box and vandalized police vehicles amid clashes across the city.

Traffic was thin on Dhaka's usually clogged streets on Thursday morning, while many malls closed. Offices and banks opened, but commuters complained that transport was limited. Police set up checkpoints at the entrances to Dhaka University.

Local television reported violence in other cities including Chattogram and Khulna, while protesters also blocked some major highways.

Salma Rahman, an official at a financial institution in Dhaka, said that she left her car at home and caught a ride on a motorcycle. “Our office has alerted us to stay safe on streets, as there is fear that violence could happen during the shutdown.”

Protesters are demanding an end to a quota system that reserves up to 30% of government jobs for family members of veterans who fought in Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971. They argue that the system is discriminatory and benefits supporters of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, whose Awami League party led the independence movement, and they want it replaced with a merit-based system.

Hasina’s government halted the quotas after mass student protests in 2018. But last month, Bangladesh’s High Court nullified that decision and reinstated the quotas after relatives of the 1971 veterans filed petitions, triggering the latest demonstrations. The Supreme Court then suspended the High Court’s ruling and is expected to rule on Aug. 7. The government has also appealed the High Court decision in the wake of the protest, according to the attorney general's office.

Huq said the government was seeking an early hearing.

“I have already asked the attorney general to appeal in the Supreme Court on Sunday seeking early hearing,” he told reporters. The Supreme Court had earlier set Aug. 7 to make decision on the quota issue. Friday and Saturday are parts of the weekend in Bangladesh. The court opens Sunday.

“I am requesting all to wait with patience until the verdict is delivered,” Hasina said in a televised address Wednesday evening. “I believe our students will get justice from the apex court. They will not be disappointed.”

While job opportunities have expanded in Bangladesh’s private sector, many people prefer government jobs because they are stable and well paid. Each year, some 400,000 graduates compete for 3,000 jobs in the civil service exam.

Hasina said there would be a judicial probe into Tuesday's deaths and vowed that those responsible would be brought to justice.

“Some precious lives have been lost unnecessarily,” she said. “I condemn every killing.”

U.N. Human Rights chief Volker Türk said in a post on the social media platform X that all acts of violence and deadly use of force must be investigated and the perpetrators held accountable. Türk said freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights.

Bangladesh’s ruling party blamed the BNP for the chaos, and Dhaka police raided the party’s headquarters late Tuesday. Detective Chief Harun-or-Rashid said police arrested seven members of the party’s student wing, and said detectives found 100 crude bombs, 500 wooden and bamboo sticks, and five to six bottles of gasoline in the raid.

Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, a senior BNP leader, said the raid was a government attempt to divert attention from the protests.

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Policemen fire tear gas to disperse students protesting against the quota system in public service in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Policemen fire tear gas to disperse students protesting against the quota system in public service in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

An injured policeman lies on a street during clashes with students protesting against the quota system in public service in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

An injured policeman lies on a street during clashes with students protesting against the quota system in public service in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students advocating for quota reform in public service held a mock funeral at Dhaka University in memory of those who died during clashes, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students advocating for quota reform in public service held a mock funeral at Dhaka University in memory of those who died during clashes, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

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