Original article (Lyons Names Plitzuweit New Women’s Basketball Coach) on West Virginia University’s athletic website wvusports.com.
West Virginia University Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President Shane Lyons has named Dawn Plitzuweit as the school’s sixth women’s basketball coach.
“Dawn is a proven winner everywhere she has been, and her track record for sustained success is impressive,” Lyons said. “When we started our search, it was quite obvious that her reputation as a program builder and championship coach put her at the top of our list. Watching her lead her team to the Sweet 16 this year with wins over Ole Miss and Baylor brought her program a lot of new national attention, but those in the know about women’s basketball were not surprised by her success.
“She brings a 73% career winning percentage with her to Morgantown along with multiple 20-win seasons, conference championships and NCAA berths. I can’t wait for her to start leading our women’s basketball program to its next chapter. Our fans will not only be impressed with her character and leadership, but they will also enjoy the brand of basketball she will be bringing to the Coliseum.”
Plitzuweit (PLITTS-zoo-white) comes to West Virginia after serving as the head coach at South Dakota from 2016-22. During her six seasons in Vermillion, South Dakota, she amassed a 158-36 record, including an 83-10 mark in the Summit League. The three-time Summit League Coach of the Year, Plitzuweit led the Coyotes to three regular-season championships, three conference tournament championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances and a berth in the 2022 NCAA Sweet 16 during her tenure at USD.
Additionally, she helped South Dakota eclipse 20 wins in five of her six seasons and guided the Coyotes to the postseason each year, including four NCAA Tournament berths. Plitzuweit was the fastest Summit League coach to reach 100 wins, doing so in her first 124 games, and holds the highest winning percentage in program history at USD.
Plitzuweit also holds the Summit League records for overall winning percentage (.814) and conference winning percentage (.892).
In 15 seasons as a head coach, Plitzuweit owns a career record of 346-129 (.728), including a 229-91 (.728) mark at the NCAA Division I level. During that span, she also has totaled 14 winning seasons and nine 20-win seasons, including two 30-win campaigns. Plitzuweit has reached the postseason in 14 of her 15 seasons as a head coach.
“I am so incredibly excited and humbled to be your women’s basketball coach at West Virginia University,” Plitzuweit said. “Thank you to President Gordon Gee, Shane Lyons, Keli Zinn and Matt Wells for this great opportunity, their confidence in me and for their tremendous support of our program. Also, a very special thank you to Coach Mike Carey and the tremendous foundation which he built and congratulations on his retirement. I am absolutely thrilled to lead our Mountaineer program at the Flagship Institution in West Virginia.
“I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank our players, administration and all of Coyote Nation at the University of South Dakota for everything they have done for me, my family and for our program. I will miss you all so much and hope that we can recruit you to cheer for the Mountaineers now.
“I just cannot wait to get to Morgantown to meet with our team and to connect with them. Our mission will be to assist our young ladies in their development on the court, while also helping them become more confident young women off the court as well. I am so excited to grow our program within the Morgantown community and the entire Mountain State! Let’s Go!”
In 2021-22, South Dakota finished the season with a 29-6 record and won the Summit League title in the regular season and conference tournament. Following its third consecutive conference tournament title, USD earned the automatic bid for the Summit League in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, earning a No. 10-seed, and defeated No. 7-seeded Ole Miss, 75-61.
USD met up with No. 2-seeded Baylor in the round of 32 and defeated the Bears, 61-47, on their home court in Waco, Texas, to advance to the first Sweet 16 in program history. The Coyotes led from start to finish to snap BU’s streak of 12 consecutive Sweet 16 appearances.
South Dakota concluded the 2021-22 campaign with a 52-49 loss to No. 3-seeded Michigan in the Sweet 16, in which the Coyotes remained tied with the Wolverines until 22 seconds remained in the game.
While at South Dakota, Plitzuweit’s teams asserted themselves as the premier mid-major program in the country. USD tallied at least 28 wins in four seasons of her tenure and never lost more than nine games during her six years with the team. Plitzuweit’s 158 wins at South Dakota are the second most in program history.
Moreover, in the history of the Summit League, only four teams have ever run the table during the regular season. Two of those three teams were Plitzuweit’s Coyotes – in 2018 and 2020. In 2020, her squad outscored league opponents by an average of 32 points per game and became the first and only program to go undefeated in the Summit League’s regular season and win the conference tournament championship.
Plitzuweit’s South Dakota teams also hold Summit League records for the most consecutive wins (20, 2017-18), most consecutive league wins (24, 2019-21), most consecutive home league wins (31, 2017-pres.), highest overall winning percentage (.938, 2019-20) and fewest losses (2, 2019-20).
Under Plitzuweit, South Dakota made its first appearance in the Associated Press (AP) and USA Today Coaches polls, ranking as high as No. 17 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the Coaches Poll, both of which came during the 2019-20 campaign. Of note, USD’s No. 11 ranking in the Coaches Poll in 2020 is the highest national ranking earned by a team in the Summit League’s history.
Plitzuweit and South Dakota also set the Summit League records during the 2019-20 season for weeks in both polls, with 16 weeks in the Coaches Poll and 12 weeks in the AP Poll. Throughout the last four seasons, USD has received votes or been ranked in the AP Top 25 in 45 weeks.
Statistically, Plitzuweit’s South Dakota teams have ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring margin and turnover margin in each of the last four seasons. From 2018-22, her Coyotes outscored their opponents by an average of 18.5 points per game and maintained a turnover margin of 6.2 during that span.
Along with South Dakota’s 10 All-Summit League honorees in 2022, Plitzuweit has coached 37 all-conference selections, including two Summit League Players of the Year (Clara Duffy in 2020 and Chloe Lamb in 2022), two freshmen/newcomers of the year and five defensive players of the year.
Prior to her six seasons in Vermillion, Plitzuweit served as the head coach at Northern Kentucky from 2012-16, where she amassed a record of 71-54 (.568) and reached the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) in all four years of her tenure.
From 2007-12, Plitzuweit served as the associate head coach at Michigan and helped the Wolverines reach the postseason four times in five years, including a berth in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Plitzuweit earned her first head coaching job at Grand Valley State University in 2002 and remained with the Lakers until 2007. During her five seasons at GVSU, she led the team to a 117-39 record (.750), including a 66-22 mark (.750) in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). In 2006, Plitzuweit led Grand Valley State to a 33-3 record and the NCAA Division II National Championship for the first time in program history. At season’s end, Plitzuweit was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year.
Plitzuweit began her coaching career at her alma mater, Michigan Tech, under her collegiate coach, Kevin Borseth, in 1995. The pair teamed up for 11 seasons with stops at Michigan Tech (1995-97), Green Bay (1998-2002) and Michigan (2007-12). She also served as an assistant coach at Wisconsin for the 1997-98 season under Jane Albright.
A 1995 graduate of Michigan Tech, Plitzuweit earned back-to-back GLIAC Player of the Year awards, four all-conference honors and three all-defensive team nods. She led the Huskies to a 99-22 record and four trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament. She 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.
A native of West Bend, Wisconsin, Plitzuweit and her husband, Jay, have a son, A.J., and a daughter, Lexi. A.J. plays basketball for South Dakota and was the Summit League Newcomer of the Year and an All-Summit League First Teamer in 2020-21. Lexi plays basketball for Grand Valley State.
Plitzuweit will have a five-year contract worth a total of $3 million. Her starting salary in year one will be $550,000, plus incentives.