University of Minnesota Director of Athletics Mark Coyle announced today that Dawn Plitzuweit has been named head women’s basketball coach. The University and Plitzuweit have agreed to a six-year term, which is pending Board of Regents approval and the completion of a background check. She will be formally introduced on Monday on campus.
Plitzuweit will be the 13th head coach in Minnesota history. She brings 28 years of coaching experience – 16 as a head coach – to Minnesota and has been the head coach of winning teams at West Virginia, South Dakota, Northern Kentucky and Grand Valley State.
She has totaled 15 winning seasons, nine 20-win seasons and two 30-win campaigns. Her teams have reached the postseason in 15 of her 16 seasons as a head coach and have competed in the last four NCAA Tournaments. Plitzuweit’s career coaching record is 356-141 (.721) and she is 201-66 (.752) in league play. Her teams have finished tied for fifth or higher in regular-season conference play in all 16 of her seasons and have recorded 11 top-three conference finishes.
Plitzuweit led both West Virginia and South Dakota to the NCAA Tournament and she participated in postseason play at all four of her head coaching stops. She took South Dakota to the Sweet 16 in 2022 and won a Division II national championship at Grand Valley State in 2006. Plitzuweit has coached at two Big Ten schools (Michigan and Wisconsin) and has recruited the state of Minnesota and surrounding area at her previous stops.
“I am excited to welcome Dawn, her husband Jay and their family to Minnesota,” said Coyle. “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.”
Plitzuweit was at West Virginia for one season. There, she led the Mountaineers to 19 wins and became the first coach in program history (49 years) to lead the team to the NCAA Tournament in an initial season. West Virginia played Arizona in the NCAA Tournament yesterday.
“I am extremely excited,” said Plitzuweit. “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.”
Prior to West Virginia, she was the head coach at South Dakota and led the program to historic success from 2016-22. During those six seasons, she recorded a 158-36 record and was 83-10 in the Summit League. Plitzuweit was named Summit League Coach of the Year three times and led the Coyotes to three regular-season titles, three conference tournament championships, four NCAA Tournaments and a trip to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament in 2022.
Plitzuweit was the head coach at Northern Kentucky from 2012-16. There she registered a 71-54 record and her team played in the Women’s Basketball Invitational in all four years.
She was the associate head coach at Michigan from 2007-12 and helped lead the Wolverines to the postseason four times, including a spot in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Plitzuweit’s first head coaching job was at Grand Valley State University, where she was from 2002-2007. The Lakers were 117-39 during her five seasons, and in 2006, Plitzuweit led Grand Valley State to a 33-3 record and the NCAA Division II National Championship, which was the first in program history. Plitzuweit was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year after the season.
Plitzuweit started her coaching career at Michigan Tech, her alma mater, in 1995 under her collegiate coach Kevin Borseth. Plitzuweit coached with Borseth for 11 seasons at three different schools, as the duo was at Michigan Tech (1995-97), Green Bay (1998-2002) and Michigan (2007-12). Plitzuweit was also an assistant coach at Wisconsin during the 1997-98 season.
Plitzuweit graduated from Michigan Tech in 1995 with a degree in biological sciences. As a player, she was a two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year and led the Huskies to a 99-22 record, three GLIAC titles and four trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament. She was also named an all-conference honoree four times and was recognized as an all-defensive selection three times.
Plitzuweit was a Division II Bulletin All-America Second Team selection and a two-time Kodak All-America honorable mention pick (1994, 1995). She earned WBCA All-Academic accolades in 1994 and 1995 and was named Michigan’s NCAA Woman of the Year in 1995.
She is a member of the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame and the Varsity Club. In 2008, Plitzuweit received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Michigan Tech.
A native of West Bend, Wis., Plitzuweit and her husband, Jay, have a son, A.J., and a daughter, Lexi. A.J. plays basketball at South Dakota, while Lexi plays basketball at Grand Valley State.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)