Gustafson and Bluder Become 10th Player-Coach Duo to Sweep the Two Awards
ATLANTA (April 6, 2019) – The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today the winners of the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Women’s College Player of the Year and the 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year as Iowa Forward Megan Gustafson and Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder. Iowa becomes the 10th school to have a player and coach sweep the women’s national Naismith Awards in the same year.
“Megan Gustafson and Lisa Bluder had an incredible season of women’s basketball making it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Megan displayed the talent worthy of the Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy throughout her college career, capping it off with a record-breaking senior season, and Lisa’s leadership of the Hawkeyes and passion for the game made her deserving of the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year honor.”
Becoming the first women’s or men’s player from Iowa to win the Citizen Naismith Trophy, Gustafson edged fellow finalists Asia Durr (Louisville), Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon) and Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame) to win the Women’s Player of the Year honor. The Hawkeye senior also becomes the first from the Big Ten to win the Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy. She led Division I in scoring and field goal percentage the last two seasons, averaging 28.0 ppg with a 69.6 field goal percentage. As Iowa’s career leader in scoring (2,804) and rebounding (1,460), Gustafson was also named Big Ten Player of the Year.
“I am so honored to be able to receive the Naismith Player of the Year. I have worked extremely hard during my four years at Iowa, and honestly, I couldn’t have achieved all that I have without my support system. That system includes my coaches who have pushed me to be the best player and more importantly the best person I could be,” said Gustafson. “My teammates have also been instrumental during my journey. I couldn’t have done any of this without them. Lastly, I would like to thank my family – they have been my best supporters since day one, I will be forever grateful for all that they have done for me!”
The Citizen Naismith Trophy, originally sculpted in 1982 by Atlanta’s Marty C. Dawe, is one of the most prestigious individual national basketball honors. Gustafson will be awarded with the Citizen Naismith Trophy, produced and provided by Herff-Jones, the leading provider of graduation and educational products and services, including class rings and jewelry. A replica trophy will be donated by Herff-Jones to Iowa in recognition of Gustafson’s win.
“Megan Gustafson and her fellow finalists represent the immense strength and talent found in women’s college basketball, and we congratulate each of them on a remarkable season,” said Eric Horowitz, managing director U.S. and travel retail, Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. “We are thrilled to award Megan with the Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy and welcome her to the Naismith Awards family.”
With her first win of the award, Bluder joins one other Iowa coach, C. Vivian Stringer, who claimed the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year Award in 1993. The other coaching finalists included Wes Moore (N.C. State), Kim Mulkey (Baylor) and Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State). Bluder led her team to the program’s first Big Ten Tournament title since 2001 and the team’s highest seeding for the NCAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the Greensboro Region. With 35 years of coaching experience, Bluder has led the Hawkeyes to 18 postseason appearances in her 19 years coaching at Iowa.
“I am honored to win the Naismith Coach of the Year Award for my staff, team and the University of Iowa. We all know that a great season involves so many people, and that is certainly the case here,” said Bluder. “I am grateful for all of the players I have coached along the way, and I share this with each of them.”
Bluder will be presented with the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year commemorative trophy designed by nationally acclaimed sculptor Brian Hanlon. The bronze trophy features Dr. James Naismith, inventor of basketball, holding the original peach basket and ball used to play the first game.
“Lisa Bluder and each of the finalists have coached their teams to outstanding seasons, and we applaud them for their leadership this season,” said Stacy Gardella, vice president of brand marketing at WernerCo. “We are thrilled to honor Lisa as the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year for her dedication to her team and women’s college basketball.”
Both Bluder and Gustafson will be honored and presented their trophies during a ceremony at Iowa to be held later this year.
The Naismith winners were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom based their selections on outstanding on-court playing and coaching performances during the 2018-19 college basketball season. Additionally, fans contributed to five percent of the total vote for each winner. The final tallies were tabulated and certified by Aprio, a premier, CPA-led business advisory firm.
For more information, visit www.naismithtrophy.com.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Citizen Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Bona, Citizen Watch Company, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.
Citizen, a pioneer in watchmaking and innovative technology since 1918, promotes excellence and creativity with a deep-rooted respect for craftsmanship. Citizen advocates “Better Starts Now,” searching for and accomplishing goals that are cause driven. In this respect, Citizen aligns with organizations and personalities that reflect the values of the brand including the Naismith Awards and Good360.
For over 40 years, Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology has served as the prime example of how the brand is dedicated to making the world and its environment a better place. A simple yet revolutionary concept, Eco-Drive harnesses the power of light from any natural or artificial light source and converts it into energy, eliminating the need for any battery replacement.
ABOUT WERNER LADDER COMPANY
Werner, the official ladder of NCAA® March Madness® and the world leader in ladders offers a complete line of climbing products designed for working at heights. The portfolio includes ladders, attic ladders, scaffolding, pump jacks, stages, planks, stepstools, accessories and fall protection equipment including harnesses, lanyards, anchors and compliance kits. From ladders to fall protection, WERNER provides a full line of climbing equipment that’s engineered to give you maximum safety, durability and productivity at every height. All Werner products meet or exceed applicable international safety standards. For more information, visit www.wernerladder.com.
Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club