Women's Basketball, WVU Sports

Dawn Plitzuweit leaves WVU to become next women’s hoops coach at Minnesota

MORGANTOWN — Dawn Plitzuweit’s brief stay as West Virginia women’s basketball coach has come to an end.

She met with WVU athletic director Wren Baker on Saturday and informed the school she was accepting the offer to become the head coach at Minnesota, which she received Friday night, not long after the Mountaineers were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Arizona.

Plitzuweit’s tenure at WVU was just one season, but it was an important one.

She was hired on March 31, 2022, to replace longtime coach Mike Carey, who retired after 21 seasons.

Four top players transferred soon after Carey’s retirement, but rather than taking a step back in her first season, Plitzuweit guided the Mountaineers to 19 wins, an unprecedented sweep of Baylor in the regular season and a trip to the NCAA tournament.

As to why Plitzuweit left after one season, Baker said the opportunity for her to be closer to home stood out.

Plitzuweit is a native of West Bend, Wis., about five hours from Minnesota’s campus.

“This move allows her to be closer to her home and her family, and we understand and respect that,” Baker said in a released statement. “I want to thank coach Plitzuweit for the positive impact she made on our women’s basketball program this year.”

Plitzuweit will be introduced at a news conference Monday, the same day Baker will meet with WVU media to discuss the Mountaineers’ coaching search.

It’s been reported Plitzuweit will sign a six-year deal at Minnesota worth $4.8 million over the duration.

“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,” said Plitzuweit, who also served as an assistant coach at Michigan for five seasons. “I am looking forward to getting back to the area and to meet the team, alumni and fans. I am also looking forward to reconnecting with local high school and club coaches. I can’t wait to get to work.”

As to her contract with WVU, Plitzuweit had four years remaining on her five-year, $3-million deal.

She earned $550,000, plus incentives, this season, meaning she had $2.45 million remaining. Her buyout clause calls for WVU to be paid 25% of her remaining salary, or $612,500, which must be paid 30 days from Saturday as liquidated damages.

When Plitzuweit was hired at WVU from South Dakota, it paid her an additional $100,000 toward her buyout clause from South Dakota.

It’s unclear at the moment how much Minnesota will pay towards WVU’s buyout.

Plitzuweit will take over for former WNBA star Lindsay Whalen, who resigned as Minnesota’s coach on March 2.

The Golden Gophers were 71-76 in Whalen’s five seasons with no trips to the NCAA tournament. Whalen earned $547,000 this season at Minnesota and was set to earn $575,000 next season.

TWEET @bigjax3211