David Bluder `25 is in the family business


Contributed by Lisa Bluder

David Bluder `25 (left) with his mother, Lisa Bluder (right).

Mohammad Igbaria, Sports Editor

From Darby Gymnasium to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, David Bluder `25 and his mother, Lisa Bluder, have found a common love for basketball. 

Head coach for the University of Iowa’s women’s basketball team, Lisa Bluder’s passion for basketball traces back to her childhood. She said that when she was a kid, her father put up a basketball hoop in their backyard for her older brothers. While they never used it, she wore it out.

“I had an instant love for the game,” she said.

Bluder’s basketball career began in the third grade, and she later played at the University of Northern Iowa from 1979 to 1983. She began coaching women’s basketball at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa the next year. In her 6 seasons at St. Ambrose, they only lost 36 out of 205 games. 

After 10 successful seasons coaching the Bulldogs at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Bluder began serving as the head coach of the University of Iowa’s women’s basketball team in 2000. In the 24 seasons since, Bluder has earned a win-loss record of 463-242 with the Hawkeyes and has become the highest all-time winning coach in their program’s history. 

Just this year, she led the Hawkeyes to become champions of the Big Ten Conference for the fourth time in her tenure and later to the finals of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I women’s basketball tournament for the first time in program history.

David Bluder’s career in basketball began similarly to his mother’s. He first got into basketball as early as kindergarten after his parents got him a little hoop to attach to the backs of doors. He said he would always shoot in the kitchen while his parents cooked or worked there. He also began playing competitive basketball in the third grade. 

She would have practice, and I would be running around Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

— David Bluder `25

“We grew up shooting in the driveway a lot,” David said. “She would always make me make five free throws in a row before we ended the workout.”

Growing up, David and his two sisters, Hannah and Emma, accompanied their parents to each tournament the Hawkeyes played in. On weekends, he would go with his mother to her team’s practices. 

“She would have practice, and I would be running around Carver-Hawkeye Arena,” he said.

He eventually joined the men’s basketball team at Grinnell in 2021. In his two seasons with the Pioneers, Bluder has scored 470 points over 49 games. His father, also named David, has been to almost every single one of his games.

Watching her son on the court, Lisa said, “When he’s out there smiling and having fun, and when the joy is there, that’s what I enjoy more than anything.”

And for David, when his mom is able to attend his games, he said that her being there helps keep him centered. “Just having her presence in the gym definitely makes me feel calmer.”

When their roles are switched and David watches his mother’s team take the court, he said that the Hawkeyes’ victories have been amazing to watch.

“I remember when they went to the Sweet 16 for the first time, and I thought that was the best thing ever,” he said. “Then we went to the Elite Eight in 2019. And now a Final Four and a national championship game, and it has definitely been crazy. It doesn’t feel real.”

He added that when Caitlin Clark made that game-winning 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded against Indiana University Bloomington, he and his family “just started going crazy. It was the best moment ever.”