Former Husky at the helm: Plitzuweit named Gopher women’s basketball head coach

Minnesota women’s basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit meets with the media after being named to helm the program. She played four seasons at Michigan Tech and is in the school’s Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota)

MINNEAPOLIS — Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Famer Dawn Plitzuweit was named head women’s basketball coach at the University of Minnesota on March 18. Plitzuweit was an All-American for the Huskies, playing from 1990-95, and an assistant coach for the Black and Gold from 1995-98.

Plitzuweit and Minnesota have agreed to a six-year term. She has 28 years of coaching experience, most recently as head coach at West Virginia, where she led the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament. 

Prior to coaching in Morgantown, Plitzuweit coached six seasons at South Dakota. She held a 158-36 record, including an 83-10 mark in the Summit League, and was a three-time Summit League Coach of the Year. She 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. Plitzuweit holds Summit League records for overall winning percentage (.814) and conference winning percentage (.892).

Dawn Zarling (married name Plitzuweit) was one of the best women’s basketball players and athletes in Michigan Tech history. The four-time All-GLIAC performer helped Tech to four 20-win seasons (1990-91, 92-95) including a trip to the 1993 NCAA Fabulous Four.

Zarling collected accolades as a two-time All-American, a two-time GLIAC Player of the Year, and a three-time GLIAC All-Defensive Team selection. She earned Michigan’s NCAA Woman of the Year Award as well as Michigan’s Female Amateur Athlete of the Year Award. She is second in program history in career rebounds (866), second in steals (331), third in assists (439), seventh in field goal percentage (.512), and ninth in scoring (1,398).

Plitzuweit’s first NCAA Division I head coaching job was at Northern Kentucky. She went 71-54 in four seasons with the Norse and went to the Women’s Basketball Invitational all four years.

Plitzuweit was the head coach at Grand Valley State from 2002-07 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in four of the five seasons. The Lakers won the National Championship in 2006 with Plitzuweit being 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.


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