Jenni Fitzgerald Announces Retirement

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Special Assistant to the Head Coach Jenni “Fitz” Fitzgerald announced her retirement on Wednesday. Fitzgerald has spent the last 32 years as a member of Lisa Bluder’s staff, including four years as an associate head coach, 20 seasons as an assistant coach, and four seasons as an advisor for the Hawkeyes.

“It’s been a privilege to be a part of the Hawkeye family for the past 24 years,” said Fitzgerald. “Lisa, Jan, and I had big dreams of filling arenas and hoisting trophies when we first stepped on to campus. Because of the women that came through our program and our Hawkeye community, those dreams became our reality.

“Retiring is bittersweet, but I know I’m one of the few people that can say they had the honor of working alongside their best friends for 32 years. I’m forever grateful for all the memories I’ve made and the people I’ve met along the way.”

In total, Fitzgerald spent 38 years in women’s college basketball as a coach and player. In addition to Iowa, Fitzgerald spent two years as a graduate assistant at Southern Illinois before coaching alongside Bluder and P. Sue Beckwith M.D. Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jan Jensen for eight years at Drake.

Fitzgerald is a 1991 graduate of Drake University. A starting point guard and three-year team captain, Fitzgerald earned first team all-conference recognition as a senior.

As a coach, recruiter, and the team’s primary strategist, Fitzgerald helped Iowa to 22 postseason appearances, including five Big Ten Tournament Championships, two Big Ten Regular Season titles, 18 NCAA Tournaments, five Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, two Final Fours, and two National Championship Game appearances.

“I have valued working alongside Jenni the past 32 years,” said former Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder.  “She is an amazing strategist and coach, and I am thankful that I get to call her a friend for the rest of our lives!”

Primarily responsible for the guards, Fitzgerald coached 17 players to a total of 37 All-Big Ten honors, including 15 First Team All-Big Ten selections. She coached eight Hawkeye guards that made the WNBA, including Cara Consuegra, Lindsey Meder, Crystal Smith, Kachine Alexander, Sam Logic, Kathleen Doyle, and most recently, Kate Martin and Caitlin Clark.

Prior to Iowa, Fitzgerald worked with the guards, directed summer camps, and handled the administrative duties for the Bulldog basketball program from 1993-2000.

Prior to Drake, Fitzgerald spent two years as a graduate assistant coach for the Southern Illinois University women’s basketball team. There, she completed her Master of Science degree in Physical Education.

A multi-talented athlete, Fitzgerald was named Miss Iowa Basketball and the state’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1986. She earned first team All-State honors in basketball, softball, and volleyball during her senior year at North Scott High School. In 1995, Fitzgerald was inducted into the Iowa Girls Basketball Hall of Fame.