June 19, 2024

At the Hawkeyes’ inaugural press conference on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa head coach Jan Jensen listens to Beth Goetz’s remarks about her. This is Jensen’s first year leading the Hawkeyes. Jensen and Goetz fielded questions from the media regarding Jensen’s new role as head coach.

“How amazing is it when the easy choice is the right choice?” asked Iowa athletic director Beth Goetz to wrap up her opening remarks at the news conference for new head coach Jan Jensen of women’s basketball.

Following Bluder’s Monday retirement announcement, Jensen was elevated to the role of head coach. Bluder informed Goetz and Jensen about her decision about a week ago, and Goetz promptly got in touch with Jensen to start some initial talks.

“Jan [Jensen] would be the first one to tell you that no matter what her contributions were, she didn’t walk into this, even in our conversations, feeling entitled to have this appointment,” Goetz said to the media after the press conference. “She knew she was ready — she was confident she could do the job, and wanted to make sure she shared what the vision would look like.”

For the previous 20 years, Jensen was an associate head coach on Bluder’s staff. He referred to Bluder as his employer, mentor, and friend. When Jensen thanked Bluder for her influence on women’s basketball and her own basketball career during the conference, she started to cry.

“Nobody loves this place as much as I do, and I know there are a lot of people that could take this job,” Jensen remarked. “It’s not lost on me that I now have my dream title in addition to my dream job at a place I love.”

This wasn’t the first head coaching job Jensen had been offered. At the conference, she said she turned down double-digit offers, with two or three that were really tempting to her.

“At some point, you have to [say] okay, this is what I’m going for,” Jensen said. “So about eight years ago, that’s what I told Lisa [Bluder]. Now, some people called, and I talked, but at the end of the day, there was no place I wanted to be.”

Jensen said she expects things to remain relatively the same because of the program’s historic success but still intends to “put my own little stamp” on the program.

Jensen was thankful for the program’s continuity with the coaching staff and the many players who committed to staying at Iowa.

Jensen also mentioned that Bluder would be staying on in some capacity, most likely in an advisory role, and was thankful for the help she’ll bring to the program during the transition.

On the court, Jensen wants to tap into her offensive-minded background and continue to put on an entertaining and energetic product for the fans. However, she expects adjustments in how the team plays after graduating longtime starters Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin, and Caitlin Clark.

Jensen hopes to replicate the program’s success out of the gate while giving herself and the team some grace while everyone adjusts in the first year of what she said is a “longer-term contract.”

She understands it’s a long game and said she “wants to chase greatness.”

Jensen likes the returning players and expects them to play with a “chip on their shoulder.” next season and prove they can overcome the loss of key contributors.

“I think there’s that saying, tradition never graduates,” Jensen said. “I don’t believe culture graduates, but you have to work on it. You have to recruit to it.”

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