Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hawkeye Coaches Alford, Blevins, Bluder Awarded One-Year Contract Extensions, Pay Raises By Outgoing Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby

University of Iowa coaches Gayle Blevins [left], Lisa Bluder [top] and Steve Alford [right] have been awarded one-year contract extensions by outgoing athletic director Bob Bowlsby, it was announced today.

“These contract extensions and adjustments in compensation reflect our appreciation and our confidence in each of these valued members of our staff,” Bowlsby said. “They also reflect our desire to provide the new director of athletics at the UI flexibility moving forward.”

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: The news is traveling slowly these days. I wrote in my May 20 column that an impeccable source had told me Alford signed a contract extension. So today's announcement about him was no big deal. However, with the announcements of the contract extensions and pay raises for Alford, Bluder and Blevins, it becomes even more evident what a pleasure it must have been for coaches to work under Bowlsby in Iowa City. With the exception, that is, of Jim Zalesky, who was fired as the Hawkeyes' wrestling coach].

Blevins, who recently completed her 19th season as coach of the softball program by guiding the Hawkeyes to the NCAA tournament for the 14th time in school history, is now under contract at Iowa until July 1, 2007. Blevins’ salary for the 2006-07 academic year will be $115,800, an increase of 14.43 percent.

Bluder, who recently completed her sixth season as coach of the women’s basketball program by guiding the Hawkeyes to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time, is now under contract until June 30, 2011. The contract includes a salary of $293,908 for 2006-07, an increase of 11.71 percent.

Alford, who recently completed his seventh season as head coach of the men’s basketball program by guiding the Hawkeyes to the NCAA tournament as the champion of the Big Ten Conference’s postseason tournament, is now under contract until June 30, 2010. The contract includes a salary of $500,000 for 2006-07, an increase of 16.78 percent.

Blevins guided Iowa to a 39-22 record in 2006, a season that included the UI being asked to be one of just 16 teams across the country to host an NCAA Regional event. Six Hawkeyes earned all-Big Ten honors and two –- Emily Nichols and Stacy May –- were named to the Midwest All-Region team by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Blevins’ has won two Big Ten tournament titles and five regulars season titles during her Iowa career.

Bluder’s Hawkeyes overcame a series of season-ending injuries to starters and top reserves to record 10 wins in Big Ten play and the team’s fourth upper division finish under her leadership. The team was led by senior guard Crystal Smith, who was selected by Phoenix in this year’s WNBA Draft, and freshman center Megan Skouby, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Bluder 2001 Hawkeyes won the Big Ten tournament title.

Alford’s Hawkeyes won 25 games in 2005-06 –- the second-best single-season total in school history and a mark that included 17 victories inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The appearance in the NCAA tournament was the third for Iowa and the team’s sixth postseason appearance total under Alford. Iowa’s 2006 conference tournament title was Alford’s second. Iowa also had two players -- senior Greg Brunner and junior Adam Haluska –- named academic all-America by the College Sports Information Directors of America and ESPN. Both were third-team selections.

It is the intention of Iowa interim president Gary Fethke to meet with the new director of athletics shortly after he or she arrives to determine the most desirable length of contract for each head coach.