Minnesota women's hoops hires coach who led GVSU to national title

Dawn Pitzuweit led Grand Valley State to the 2006 DII national championship.

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Dawn Plitzuweit, who led Grand Valley State to a Division II national championship, has been named head women's basketball coach at Minnesota.

It's a return to the Big Ten for Plitzuweit, who was an associate head coach at Michigan from 2007-12.

West Virginia head coach Dawn Plitzuweit looks on in the second half of a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament against Arizona, Friday, March 17, 2023, in College Park, Md.

She's been a head coach for 16 seasons, with 15 winning seasons.

"I am extremely excited," Plitzuweit said in a statement from Minnesota on Saturday. "This is a homecoming of sorts, and Minnesota is a program 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 to meet the team, alumni and fans.

"I am looking forward to reconnecting with local high school and club coaches. I can't wait to get to work."

Plitzuweit, 50, was a star player at Michigan Tech, twice being named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the year -- and eventually making the school's athletics Hall of Fame. She got her coaching start at Michigan Tech, under Kevin Borseth, whom she eventually worked under at Green Bay and Michigan.

Her first head-coaching job was at Grand Valley, from 2002-07, making the NCAA Tournament four times. She led the Lakers to the 2006 Division II national championship.

She left in 2007 to join Borseth's staff at Michigan, before returning to head-coaching in 2012 at Northern Kentucky, which she led to the postseason four teams (WBI all four years).

In 2016, Plitzuweit was named head coach at South Dakota, which she led to the postseason all five times, including three NCAA Tournaments. Her last team made the Sweet 16.

Last year, she took over at West Virginia, which she led to the NCAA Tournament, losing in the first round.

As a head coach, Plitzuweit, a native of West Bend, Wisconsin, is 356-141, and 201-66 in league play.

"Dawn is a process-driven coach and has coached winning teams at every step of her career," Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle said in a statement. "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."

Minnesota was 11-19 and 4-14 in the Big Ten this past season, leading to the resignation of head coach Lindsey Whalen, a former Golden Gophers star player, after five seasons.

Plitzuweit joins the Big Ten as the conference has become one of the most-talented in the nation. She has two kids who play college basketball: A.J. at South Dakota, and Lexi at Grand Valley State.

Minnesota was one of two head-coaching openings in the Big Ten. The other is Michigan State, where Suzy Merchant, head coach for 16 seasons, stepped down last week amid health issues.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984