MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A new era of West Virginia women’s basketball is underway.

After a successful tenure in charge of the South Dakota women’s program, veteran head coach Dawn Plitzuweit takes over the helm as the leader of the Mountaineers.

“This day is a very exciting day for us and for our family,” she said Tuesday at her introductory press conference. “There’s a great deal of energy in this Coliseum, so thank you to all of you for coming today and being a part of this moment.”

Dawn Plitzuweit walking down the West Virginia carpet to be introduced to Mountaineer Nation as WVU Women’s Basketball head coach. (PHOTO: Jamie Green)

Plitzuweit is now the sixth head coach in program history.

“To you ladies, we commit to giving you everything that we have. Our goal is to do everything we can to assist you in your development on and off the court,” she said, addressing the handful of players in attendance, including freshman standout JJ Quinerly. “On the court, we will strive to mold you into the most versatile, complete version of who you can be as a basketball player.”

Plitzuweit emerged as the top candidate to replace Mike Carey, who retired in March as the program’s all-time wins leader. Upon his retirement, WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons launched a national search for his replacement.

The three-person committee in charge of sthat search kept coming back to Plitzuweit’s strengths and resume throughout the search.

“As we continued through this process, a name that kept coming to the top was Dawn Plitzuweit,” said Lyons. “Dawn’s name kept coming to the top every time we looked it.”

However, that search was extended due to Plitzuweit’s success with the Coyotes.

“It slowed the process down because she continued to play in the NCAA Tournament,” Lyons said. “Not that I wanted to see the unfortunate missed shot against Michigan, but in one way I was relieved because I was excited to get her on campus.”

Plitzuweit described a plan for “positionless” basketball for her team.

When asked about her expectations for the Mountaineers, it was a simple response: Be your best.

“There are four categories of be your best,” Plitzuweit said. “Be your best academically. Be your best on the basketball court, and we say on the basketball court, when we get it we celebrate it, and when we don’t get it we try again until we get it. And the third way to be your best is in the community. … And the fourth way of be your best is as a teammate. That’s something that’s really important to our program.”

Plitzuweit has won 73 percent of her games as head coach. She also led South Dakota to four NCAA Tournament appearances, and most recently an appearance in the Sweet 16 after upsetting No. 2 seed Baylor. She has had four 20-win seasons at the Division-I level, and nine total in her head coaching career.

She leaves South Dakota as the Summit League’s career leader in overall win percentage and league win percentage.

Last week, she was also named the winner of the Kay Yow Award, a national coach of the year award.

Dawn Plitzuweit gives her opening remarks to Mountaineer Nation as she is introduced as the new head coach for WVU Women’s Basketball (PHOTO: Jamie Green)

Plitzuweit has already assembled her staff, bringing with her three assistants from South Dakota. All three were in attendance on Tuesday.

Both Plitzuweit and Lyons thanked Carey for his hard work over the past two decades.

“The name Mike Carey is synonymous with West Virginia women’s basketball,” said Plitzuweit. “And for all your years of service coach, if you’re watching this, I want to say thank you. Thank you for what you’ve done, and please know that we will do our very best to carry the torch forward. And we are going to do our best to build on the cornerstone that you and all our alumni have laid for us.”