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Minnesota lands West Virginia women’s coach Dawn Plitzuweit

West Virginia's head coach Dawn Plitzuweit yells during the game against Texas Tech, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, at United Supermarkets Arena.
Credit: Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Minnesota named Dawn Plitzuweit its new women’s basketball coach, the school announced Saturday.

Her hiring won’t be official until she passes a background check and the university’s board of regents approves her six-year contract.

Once in place, she will replace Lindsay Whalen, who stepped down earlier this month after five seasons leading her alma mater. Whalen was 71-76 with no NCAA Tournament appearances with the Golden Gophers.

Plitzuweit, a Wisconsin native, heads to Minnesota after one season as head coach at West Virginia, which hired her March 31, 2022.

A 1995 graduate of Michigan Tech, Plitzuweit began her coaching career that year at her alma mater, then got her first chance at a head coaching job at Grand Valley State in 2002. In 2007, she transitioned to associate head coach at Michigan. South Dakota named her head coach in 2016, and she remained there until accepting the job with the Mountaineers.

She has a career record of 356-141 (201-66 in league play) and her teams have made the postseason in 15 of her 16 seasons as a head coach. Grand Valley State won a Division II national championship in 2006.

The Golden Gophers most recent tournament berth came in 2018.

“I am extremely excited,” Plitzuweit, 50, said in a school-issued statement. “It is a tremendous honor to be named head coach at Minnesota. … 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.”

In her only season at West Virginia, the Mountaineers finished 19-12 (10-8 Big 12) and lost to Arizona 75-62 on Friday in the opening round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

In a statement on Saturday, West Virginia athletic director Wren Baker said the school will immediately begin a national search for its next head coach. Plitzuweit replaced Mike Carey, who retired in 2022 after 21 seasons leading the Mountaineers.

–Field Level Media

Plitzuweit also coached in the Big Ten as an assistant at Michigan and Wisconsin, and is a native of Wisconsin. She is tasked with turning Minnesota into a Big Ten power as the conference welcomes UCLA and USC in the coming years. The Gophers last appeared in the NCAA tournament in 2018, then coached by Marlene Stollings, but at their height advanced to the Final Four in 2004 behind Whalen’s outstanding run as a player.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, all four members of Whalen’s highly regarded freshman class — Mara Braun, Mallory Heyer, Nia Holloway and Amaya Battle — intend to remain at Minnesota despite Whalen’s departure.

West Virginia will now be looking for a women’s basketball coach for the second time in two years following the retirement of longtime coach Mike Carey after the 2021-22 season.

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