From: Las Vegas
Gophers hire West Virginia coach Dawn Plitzuweit to replace Lindsay Whalen
Plitzuweit is a Wisconsin native who coached South Dakota to the Sweet 16 last season before spending one year as West Virginia's coach.
The University of Minnesota announced Saturday that it has hired Dawn Plitzuweit as Gophers women's basketball head coach, replacing Lindsay Whalen.
In Plitzuweit, the Gophers get an experienced leader who owns a 365-140 record as a head coach in two NCAA divisions and four schools. Minnesota signed her to a six-year contract, pending Board of Regents approval.
The Gophers scheduled a news conference to introduce Plitzuweit for Monday at 12:30 p.m.
"I am extremely excited," Plitzuweit said in the news release. "It is a tremendous honor to be named head coach at Minnesota, and I want to thank President Joan Gabel, Mark Coyle, Julie Manning, Joi Thomas and the entire search committee for this opportunity.
"This is a homecoming of sorts, and Minnesota is a program that I am very familiar with from my previous time in the surrounding area and in the Big Ten. I am looking forward to getting back to the area and to meet the team, alumni and fans. I am also looking forward to reconnecting with local high school and club coaches. I can't wait to get to work."
In Plitzuweit's 16 seasons as a head coach, she has led her teams into the post season in all but one season. She coached Grand Valley State to the NCAA Division II title in 2006, coached South Dakota into the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2022 and, most recently, led West Virginia to the NCAA tournament in her one year as head coach of the Mountaineers. She has coached in the NCAA tournament four straight seasons.
Plitzuweit (pronounced PLITZ-zoo-white), a Wisconsin native, was 158-36 in six seasons at South Dakota, going 83-10 in Summit League conference play. The Coyotes won 28 or more games in four of her six seasons there, winning three regular-season conference titles and three conference tournament titles. She was named conference coach of the year three times.
"I am excited to welcome Dawn, her husband Jay and their family to Minnesota," Coyle said in the news release. "Dawn is a process-driven coach and has coached winning teams at every step of her career. She has recruited Minnesota and has consistently produced teams that compete for championships. Dawn has Big Ten coaching experience and knows how competitive and strong the conference is. I know she is excited to get back to the area and build her program."
When Plitzuweit, 50, left South Dakota, she signed a five-year, $3 million contract with West Virginia. The Mountaineers went 19-12 overall, 10-8 in the Big 12 Conference in her one season there. West Virginia lost to Arizona in the NCAA tournament on Friday in Maryland, and by morning, the Gophers had their new coach.
Plitzuweit was 71-54 at Northern Kentucky in four seasons before moving to South Dakota. Before that she was associate head coach at Michigan for five seasons.
Plitzuweit returns to the Midwest, where she has long-standing recruiting ties, and she inherits a team with the bulk of its scoring returning from last season. Minnesota got 47.3% of its scoring last season from freshmen. It appears all four of former coach Lindsay Whalen's highly-touted 2022 recruiting class of Mara Braun, Mallory Heyer, Nia Holloway and Amaya Battle will return.
Former Farmington star center Sophie Hart transferred to Minnesota from North Carolina State during the season, though she has not indicated her plans in the wake of the coaching change. Nor has redshirt freshman Katie Borowicz or sophomore Maggie Czinano.
Sophomore center Rose Micheaux has announced her intention to enter the NCAA's transfer portal.
According to BlueGoldNews.com, which covers West Virginia sports, Plitzuweit's contract with the Mountaineers called for her to earn $550,000 this season, with scheduled $25,000 raises in the final four years. The contract also called for a buyout of 25% of the remaining contract if Plitzuweit left for another coaching position. That would mean, according to BlueGoldNews.com, that West Virginia would be owed $612,500.