BY JEREMY HOECK
After just over two months on the job as head women’s basketball coach at the University of South Dakota, Dawn Plitzuweit has certainly been busy.
A staff had to be assembled. She and her family had to get settled into Vermillion. Youth camps were run. Recruiting trips had to be organized. And an upcoming trip to Australia had to be planned.
I caught up with her Tuesday morning before a junior high camp at the DakotaDome.
Over two months, what’s it been like?
It’s been really busy. We’ve got an incredible staff put together, so it’s been fun to work with all of them. All of our players came back in the middle of June, so we’re in the middle of week three of workouts with them. Getting ready to hit the road for recruiting and finishing up these camps.
July is a busy month, isn’t it?
It really is. We get on the road recruiting, we’ll watch kids, and then we’ll come back and start our practices for Australia.
So, when is that trip?
We leave Aug. 7. That’s 40 days from now, approximately.
Obviously with international travel, there are certain things you’ve got to get organized.
There’s a learning curve we’re going through right now. That is figuring out what we need to take, how we need to travel, what all the plans look like. There’s a lot of prep work going on right now, but Alex (Antonen) is doing a great job of getting that figured out.
These are unique trips to take, aren’t they?
It’s really a great opportunity for us, basketball while we’re there is good, but the bonding is outstanding. The practices before we go, we really expect those to be helpful for us.
During summer workouts, have you seen some improvements there?
It’s been really good. Our kids, their energy has been very good, their attentiveness has been very good. We’re tweaking, we’re teaching the same kinds of work ethic and commitment, but maybe the terms are a little bit different. The vocab for the kids have been different. They’ve been grinding. It’s been challenging, but they’ve responded really well.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far, or maybe even the thing that stands out the most so far?
We’re still trying to figure out who we are. We’re trying to put togetghetr our identity right now. Today’s our first day with Abbi back,t his morning we had a conditioning workout, then camps. That’ll still take some time.
That’ll take some time even beyond Australia, won’t it?
Exactly. But if there’s a question, that’s probably what it is right now. Where do we go? Who do we give the ball to? We’ll be known for our toughness and our grit, all those things our kids have been a major part of it int eh past. That culture remains the same, but yet, how are we going to put the ball in the basket? How can we score more points than our opponents? Those things are yet to be determined.
Especially when you turn the page from where they were, everything is new, isn’t it?
I think certain players really respond, their roles change when you graduate five kids and you have a new system in play. That’s something we haven’t even scratched the surface on yet.
Even just getting outside of Vermillion, have you been able to meet people and develop some contacts?
Not a whole lot yet. July we have an opportunity to get out and watch more kids. We’ve been fortunate in being able to bring some of those high school kids and teams into Vermillion for camps. The numbers have been outstanding. That’s allowed us to meet some coaches and players from outside this area.