DES MOINES, Iowa - Former University of Iowa standout and Des Moines native, Jennie Lillis Baranczyk has been named the sixth head women's basketball coach at Drake University, Director of Athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb announced Tuesday afternoon.
"I am honored and thrilled to become the head women's basketball coach at Drake University," said Lillis Baranczyk. "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."
Lillis Baranczyk, 30, comes to Drake after a two-year stint as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Colorado, where she was on the staff of head coach Linda Lappe, a former Drake assistant coach. Prior to Colorado, Lillis Baranczyk was an assistant coach for four seasons at Marquette after two seasons as an assistant coach at Kansas State.
"Jennie Lillis Baranczyk is an extraordinary fit for the Drake Women's Basketball program," Hatfield Clubb said. "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. I am thrilled she has joined the Bulldog family."
"I am absolutely delighted that Jennie will be Drake's next women's basketball coach," said Drake President David Maxwell. "We have a wonderful program with a proud tradition of winning with exceptional young women who excel as much in the classroom as they do on the court, and we have high aspirations for the team's future. Jennie has just the right combination of experience, values, leadership, basketball smarts and passion for the game to make those aspirations a reality."
Lillis Baranczyk helped recruit and develop numerous all-conference student-athletes at all three schools and she was instrumental in Colorado securing the No. 27th-ranked 2012 recruiting class by ESPN HoopGurlz. At Colorado, she coached All-Big 12 first-team forward Brittney Spears and All-Pac-12 guard Chucky Jeffrey as well as Pac-12 all-freshman team members Lexy Kresl and Jen Reese. On the floor she has had a coaching emphasis in the development of the post player's at all three schools.
"Jennie was an important part of our first two years at Colorado, and her loyalty, commitment and hard work have helped to point us in the right direction," Lappe said. "We are definitely disappointed to be losing a great coach, and an even better person, but we couldn't be happier for her and her family and know that she will be a great fit at Drake University. We wish Jennie the best of luck as she heads back to her home city."
Lillis Baranczyk has reached postseason tournament play every season as a player and coach. She has coached in two NCAA tournaments and has won two WNIT championships as a coach (Kansas State in 2006 and Marquette in 2008). At Iowa, she played in three NCAA tournaments and one WNIT and helped Iowa win the 2001 Big Ten Tournament.
A three-time captain at Iowa, Lillis Baranczyk (formerly Jennie Lillis), was a four-year letterwinner at forward from 2000-04 under Bluder. One of the best all-around players in Hawkeye basketball history, she was a three-time All-Big Ten Conference selection, earning first-team honors as a junior in 2003 and second-team honors as a sophomore in 2002 and as a senior in 2004.
She graduated as the only player in Iowa history in the top 10 of five major statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks and is one of only two Hawkeye players to score more than 1,700 points and grab 800 rebounds.
"Jennie is a great fit for Drake," said Bluder. "She is a Des Moines native who knows the importance and value of women's basketball in this state, having lived it. She will do a wonderful job as a leader of the program. Jennie is a hard worker who knows the game well and has values that match the Drake philosophy. She will bring the same competiveness that made her a great player, and invigorate the Drake players and community with her passion for the game and desire to be successful. I am proud to see Jennie take over the program and I know it is in good hands."
Lillis Baranczyk graduated from Iowa in 2004 with her bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and from Kansas State with her master's degree in Counseling and Student Development in 2007. At Iowa, she was the recipient of the 2004 Big Ten Conference's Medal of Honor. First awarded in 1914, the Big Ten's oldest award is given annually to a student in the graduating class of each university that demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics. Lillis Baranczyk was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten pick, a WBCA Scholarship Award recipient, CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, and a Collegiate Basketball Award for Excellence semifinalist as a senior in 2004.
In her prep career, she helped Dowling Catholic in Des Moines win state championships in 1998 and 2000 and she is a member of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Fame.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to coach this team to continue to build upon the winning tradition the Bulldogs have established in the Missouri Valley Conference," Lillis Baranczyk said. "I will strive to sign student-athletes who will love Drake University and will make the alumni and the Des Moines community proud. I want to thank Sandy Hatfield Clubb, David Maxwell and the rest of the Drake administration for sharing their vision clearly and giving me the opportunity to lead this program into the future."
Jennie and her husband Scott Baranczyk were married in May 2009 and the couple is expecting their first child soon.