Photo: Taylor Soule
The women’s basketball team has found a new leader.
Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb announced the hiring of former University of Iowa standout Jennie Lillis Baranczyk as women’s basketball head coach on April 17.
Lillis Baranczyk is the sixth women’s basketball head coach at Drake. Her hiring comes after the resignation of former head coach Amy Stephens on March 26.
“Jennie Lillis Baranczyk is an extraordinary fit for the Drake women’s basketball program,” Hatfield Clubb said in a press conference last week. “She is a demonstrated teacher of the game, a tenacious recruiter of Iowa and the Midwest, and she is committed to the holistic development of the student-athlete. Jennie has been mentored by four talented head coaches, including former Drake head coach Lisa Bluder, and is uniquely prepared to lead Drake women’s basketball program.”
The Bulldogs are coming off an 18-16 season that saw the team make an unlikely run to the Missouri Valley Conference championship game. Drake’s success in the MVC tournament earned the team a Women’s National Invitational Tournament berth, where the Bulldogs fell to South Dakota in the first round.
Lillis Baranczyk arrives at Drake after a two-year stint at the University of Colorado as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Lillis Baranczyk was also an assistant coach at Kansas State for two years before spending four seasons at Marquette, also as an assistant coach.
“I am honored and thrilled to become the head women’s basketball coach at Drake University,” Lillis Baranczyk said. “As a native of Des Moines, I remember very clearly the winning tradition of Drake women’s basketball. This is truly a great fit for me, my family and for Drake. I am excited to be able to recruit and work with student-athletes who will share in the same goals and vision. I am very proud to represent the Drake Bulldogs, and we will work hard to be a significant part of this community.”
The Des Moines native had a successful collegiate career at Iowa. Lillis Baranczyk was a four-year letter winner from 2000 to 2004 under Bluder. Lillis Baranczyk played in three NCAA Tournaments and was a three-time All-Big Ten Conference selection.
Lillis Baranczyk graduated as the only player in Hawkeye history in the top 10 of five major statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
She graduated from Iowa in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and then earned her master’s degree in counseling and student development from Kansas State in 2007.