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Gophers hire West Virginia coach Dawn Plitzuweit to replace Lindsay Whalen

The University of Minnesota announced Saturday that it has hired Dawn Plitzuweit as head coach of the Gophers women’s basketball team, replacing Lindsay Whalen.

In Plitzuweit, the Gophers get an experienced leader who has 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.

“I’m extremely excited,” Plitzuweit said in the press release. “It’s a huge honor to be named head coach of Minnesota, and I want to thank President Joan Gabel, Mark Coyle, Julie Manning, Joi Thomas and the entire search committee for this opportunity.

“It’s kind of a homecoming, and Minnesota is a program that I know very well from my previous time around the area and in the Big Ten. I can’t wait to get back to the area and meet the team. , alumni and fans. I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with coaches from high schools and local clubs. I can’t wait to get down to business.

During Plitzuweit’s 16 seasons as head coach, she 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 to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2022, and most recently led West Virginia to the NCAA Tournament during her year as a head coach of the Mountaineers. She coached in the NCAA Tournament four consecutive seasons.

Plitzuweit (pronounced PLITZ-zoo-white), a Wisconsin native, was 158-36 in six seasons at South Dakota, going 83-10 in the Summit League conference. The Coyotes won 28 or more games in four of his 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 thrilled to welcome Dawn, her husband Jay and their family to Minnesota,” Coyle said in the press release. “Dawn is a process-oriented coach and has coached winning teams at every stage of her career. She recruited Minnesota and consistently produced teams that compete for championships. Dawn has experience coaching in the Big Ten and knows how competitive and strong the conference is. I know she’s excited to come back to the region and build her program.”

Plitzuweit, 50, then signed a five-year, $3 million contract with West Virginia. The Mountaineers went 19-12 overall, 10-8 in the Big 12 conference in his only season there.

Plitzuweit was 71-54 in Northern Kentucky in four seasons before moving to South Dakota. Prior to that, she was an 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 whose bulk of her scoring comes from last season. Minnesota got 47.3% of its scores last season from freshmen. It looks like all four members of former coach Lindsay Whalen’s highly touted recruiting class of 2022, 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, although she did not indicate her plans following the coaching change. Neither is redshirt freshman Katie Borowicz or sophomore Maggie Czinano.

Second-year center Rose Micheaux has announced plans to enter the NCAA transfer portal.

According to BlueGoldNews.com, which covers West Virginia sports, Plitzuweit’s contract with the Mountaineers called for him to earn $550,000 in the 2022-23 season, with projected raises of $25,000 over the four last years. The contract also provided for a 25% buyout of the remaining contract if Plitzuweit left for another coaching job. That would mean, according to BlueGoldNews.com, that West Virginia would owe $612,500.

startribune Gt Itly

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