MORGANTOWN, W.V. (KELO) — Former USD head coach, Dawn Plitzuweit was announced as the new head women’s basketball coach for West Virginia in her introductory press conference.
West Virginia revealed they would be hiring Plitzuweit via Twitter on Thursday, March 31 and five days later, the university held a press conference to introduce their new coach.
Director of Athletics, Shane Lyons spoke first as he outlined the plan to find a new coach, once longtime coach, Mike Carey announced his retirement.
“We were going to do a national search and we did a national search,” Lyons said in Tuesday’s press conference. “The thing that was very interesting in this process is that I had my list and when we officially started looking for those candidates, it became apparent that the candidates wanted to be a part of West Virginia basketball.”
Lyons along with Keli Zinn (WVU Deputy Athletics Director) and Matt Wells (Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs) led the search for the Mountaineers.
They had a list of candidates who they were interested in, but the candidates on the list were also interested in West Virginia.
“It was interesting that their representatives or their head coach contacted us. Each one of the candidates that we had an interest in, they also had an interest in us and that was pretty special,” Lyons said.
The search was eventually narrowed down.
“Dawn’s name kept coming to the top, every time we looked at it. Unfortunately and fortunately for us and fortunately for her, it slowed the process because she continued to play in the NCAA tournament,” Lyons said.
West Virginia was drawn to coach Plitzuweit thanks to her career resume, specifically the success she had at the University of South Dakota.
“You look at Dawn’s resume, 73% of overall games she has won. 72% of those are Division I games. She led her teams to four NCAA Tournaments at South Dakota and eight overall as a head coach,” Lyons said. “She reached the Sweet 16 this year with wins over Ole Miss and Baylor. She’s had five 20 win seasons at Division I and 14 winning seasons.”
Plitzuweit finished 158-36 at USD, where she also won three Summit League Coach of Year awards.
The move to a Power 5 conference was exciting for the Plitzuweit family, but it was also difficult as they had to say goodbye to their Coyote family.
“This day is a very exciting day for us and for our family. There is a great deal of energy in this coliseum. While we are very, very thankful to be here today, it was also a difficult challenge to say goodbye to our family at the University of South Dakota,” Plitzuweit said in Tuesday’s press conference. “I would like to sincerely thank all of our players and coaches, our staff, our administrators and our fans from USD.”
Several memories were made at South Dakota, including their recent trip to the school’s first ever Sweet 16.
“There were many great moments that we shared together and there were many tears shed in the past few days, but from a marketing stand point, lets not be surprised if there are some WV t-shirts and hats being sold in the South Dakota region,” Plitzuweit said.
Coach Plitzuweit will bring three coaches with her to West Virginia including associate head coach Jason Jeschke, assistant coach Aaron Horn and assistant coach Ariel Braker.
All three coached with Plitzuweit at South Dakota last season.
“I have been particularly blessed throughout my coaching career to work with great coaches and great staffs,” Plitzuweit said. “At the University of South Dakota, we were able to build a very special program with great coaches.”
Plitzuweit emphasized that her first step at West Virginia is building relationships with the players.