Former University of Iowa standout and Des Moines native Jennie (Lillis) Baranczyk (pronounced bah-rahn-check) was named the sixth head women's basketball coach at Drake University on April 17, 2012.
Baranczyk was named 2017-18 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year after she guided Drake to another historic season in 2017-18. Drake won its second-straight Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles with the program's second-consecutive 18-0 record in MVC action and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the second-straight season. No Valley team has ever gone undefeated in two MVC regular seasons. The Bulldogs closed the 2017-18 season on a 42-0 winning streak in MVC regular season/tournament games over the past two seasons. Becca Hittner was named the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year while Sammie Bachrodt was MVC Defensive Player of the Year and Sara Rhine MVC Sixth Player of the Year. Those three along with Maddy Dean earned All-MVC honors with the first three being named All-MVC First Team and Dean All-MVC Honorable Mention. The Bulldogs' recorded the second-longest school and MVC winning streak at 21-straight. Rhine was named the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year while Bachrodt and Hittner joined her on the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team. Dean was named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Second Team.
In her fifth season at the helm in 2016-17, Baranczyk led Drake to a magical season with a 28-5 record that included a 22-game winning streak (program and MVC record) and the program being ranked in the AP Top 25 and USA TODAY Top 25 poll. Baranczyk guided the Bulldogs to an undefeated run at 18-0 through the MVC regular season to earn the school's first conference title since 2008 and the first outright title since 2000. No Valley team had ever gone undefeated in the regular season prior to the 2016-17 Bulldogs. Drake then won three games in three days at the 2017 MVC Tournament for the program's first MVC tournament title since 2007. The title earned the Bulldogs the Valley's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, the 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the program, where it lost at Kansas State in the first round.
Baranczyk was honored as the MVC Coach of the Year and the espnW Mid-Major Coach of the Year. In addition, senior Lizzy Wendell garnered multiple postseason honors. Wendell was named the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year, AP All-America honorable mention (first Drake player since 2012), WBCA All-America Honorable Mention, Senior CLASS Award All-America First Team, MVC All-Defensive Team and to the All-MVC First Team for the fourth time in her outstanding career. Wendell left Drake third all-time in career scoring with 2,551 points, a total that also ranks third all-time in the MVC. Joining Wendell on the All-MVC First Team was Caitlin Ingle (third straight year) and Hittner. Ingle had a special final season becoming Drake's and the MVC's all-time assists leader while Hittner continued the Bulldogs run of taking home the MVC's top freshman of the year award for the fourth-straight year. Ingle and Wendell led the MVC in assists and scoring for the third-straight year respectively as Ingle averaged 7.6 assists per game and Wendell averaged 21.0 points per game. Also earning awards in 2016-17 were Bachrodt and Becca Jonas as each earned All-MVC honorable mention accolades. Ingle and Jonas were awarded MVC Scholar-Athlete accolades as Ingle was picked to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team for the third-consecutive season while Jonas was picked to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Second Team.
The 2015-16 season was Baranczyk's fourth season at the helm as the team went 23-10 to record their second consecutive 20-win season, all with just one senior on the roster in Emma Donahue. It was the first time Drake has recorded 20-plus wins in two straight seasons since 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons. The Bulldogs finished second in the MVC standings with a 14-4 record. The team earned a bid to the WNIT Tournament and collected a first round win over Sacred Heart for the program's first postseason win since 2008. In December, 2015 Baranczyk was featured by The Des Moines Register as one of 15 people to watch in 2016.
Drake's student-athletes racked up another impressive set of awards and honors, led by Rhine, who had a banner first season as a Bulldog capped by winning the MVC Freshman and Sixth Player of the Year awards as well as collecting All-MVC honorable mention honors and being picked to the All-MVC Freshman team. Rhine was the third straight Bulldog to win the MVC Freshman of the Year award. Ingle and Wendell each had outstanding third seasons as Ingle led the MVC in assists per game (6.9 per game) and Wendell paced the league in scoring for the second-straight season with a 19.6 scoring clip. Ingle and Wendell were each selected to the All-MVC First Team for the second straight year. Joining Rhine on the All-MVC Freshman Team was Bachrodt who had a great first season. Donahue and Ingle along with Dean were recognized for stellar years on the court and in the classroom as they were each awarded All-MVC Scholar-Athlete honors. Donahue earned honorable mention accolades while Dean was named to the second team and Ingle was tabbed to the first team for the second straight year.
In Baranczyk's third season, the team finished the 2014-15 season with a 20-11 record, including a stellar 15-3 mark in MVC games. It was the first 20-win season for the Bulldogs since the 2007-08 campaign while the 15 conference wins were the most since the 2001-02 team also had 15. Drake finished second in the conference standings, its best finish since 2001-02. The banner year helped Drake lead the Valley in attendance and finish 45th in the nation with an average of 2,623 fans per game.
All this was accomplished even after Drake lost the returning MVC Player of the Year, senior Kyndal Clark, who suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the year against South Dakota. The team, featuring six first or second year student-athletes along with five upperclassmen, stepped up in place of Clark, led by Wendell in her second season.
Wendell, who was named MVC Freshman of the Year in 2013-14, was even better in her second season. She led the league in scoring at 21.8 points per game, and became just the fourth Drake sophomore to reach 1,000 career points. She earned All-MVC First Team honors for the second consecutive year.
Also on the All-MVC First Team was Ingle, who was the Bulldogs’ floor leader averaging a league-high 6.7 assists per game. Ingle notched the MVC’s first triple-double since 2009 and first in Drake history, recording 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, in the win over Missouri State on Jan. 30. Rounding out Drake’s All-MVC First Team selections was Dean, who averaged 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Dean was named the MVC Freshman of Year for her outstanding debut season. Jonas averaged 12.5 points and a team-leading 9.1 rebounds per game. Jonas was an honorable mention All-MVC selection. Jonas and Dean also were selected to the MVC All-Freshman team. Drake advanced to the WNIT postseason tournament for the first time since 2012.
Year two under Baranczyk's watch was filled with success on-and-off the court as the team finished 17-15 and 9-9 in MVC play. The Bulldogs advanced all the way to the MVC Tournament title game, where they lost to the defending champions, Wichita State. Clark was selected the MVC Jackie Stiles Player of the Year, while Wendell capped off a special first season with being named the Co-MVC Freshman of the Year. Clark and Wendell were both named to the All-MVC First Team, while Ingle joined Wendell on the MVC All-Freshman Team. Junior Liza Heap earned honorable mention MVC Scholar-Athlete honors.
Baranczyk's teams have been highly successful in the classroom during her tenure at Drake, starting in 2013-14 as each of her teams have earned prestigious accolades from the WBCA with the Top 25 Team Honor Roll. Drake has ranked in the top 10 for the prestigious WBCA team academic honor in five straight seasons under Baranczyk.
In her first season leading the Bulldogs, Baranczyk became the fifth Drake women's basketball coach to win 10 or more games in their first season. Clark netted a pair of honors, being named to the All-MVC Second Team and to the MVC All-Defensive team.
Baranczyk came 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, Baranczyk was an assistant coach for four seasons at Marquette after two seasons as an assistant coach at Kansas State.
Baranczyk helped recruit and develop numerous all-conference student-athletes at all three schools she coached at before Drake and 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 had a coaching emphasis in the development of the post player's at all three schools.
Baranczyk reached postseason tournament play every season as a player and assistant coach. She coached in two NCAA tournaments and won two WNIT championships (Kansas State in 2006 and Marquette in 2008) as an assistant coach . 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, Baranczyk (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 was an honorable mention All-American in 2003.
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.
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. 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," said Baranczyk. "I strive to sign student-athletes who 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."
On the date of her hire, Baranczyk who was 31 years old at the time, was the second youngest Division I head women's basketball coach. Even as one of the younger Division I head coaches she made an immediate impact in women's basketball as she attended the 2013 edition of The Center for Coaching Excellence (CCE). Along with 31 fellow WBCA-member college women's basketball coaches she completed the invitation-only, two-and-a-half day elite leadership program hosted by Columbia University in New York City.
Baranczyk and her program are actively involved in the Des Moines community. Starting in 2013-14, the program has reached its goal of completing 1,000 community service hours in the Drake and Des Moines communities over the course of the academic year. Baranczyk sits on the board for the Young Women's Resource Center in Des Moines. She was honored by the Business Record in June, 2017 by being named a 2017 Women of Influence honoree. The award celebrates the work of women who have made a difference.
Her father, Terry played college baseball and basketball at Simpson College and her brother, Brian played college basketball at the University of Albany in New York.
Jennie and her husband, Scott, have one son, Eli, and two daughters, Jordi and Hope.
"I am honored and thrilled to be the head women's basketball coach at Drake University," 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'm excited to recruit and work with student-athletes who share in the same goals and vision. I'm very proud to represent the Drake Bulldogs and we will work hard to be a significant part of this community."