Dawn Plitzuweit and her kids, A.J. and Lexi Plitzuweit all have a role to play in the basketball scene in Vermillion.
Head women’s’ basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit is in her fourth season at USD, winning over 20 games each season and two undefeated Summit League seasons. The Coyotes made the NCAA Tournament last season following a loss in the Summit League Tournament Championship game to South Dakota State.
Her son, A.J. Plitzuweit returned to Vermillion last fall after spending his freshman year playing at Augustana in Sioux Falls. He announced he was transferring after the season and knew USD is where he belongs.
“As soon as I put my name on that I was transferring, I just knew that USD was the right fit for me,” A.J. Plitzuweit said. “It was such a family feel and the community here has just always been so loving for me.”
Lexi Plitzuweit is a junior at Vermillion High School and plays on the girl’s basketball team. While the three members of the family spend a lot of time around basketball, they find time to be together as a family, A.J. Plitzuweit said.
“We definitely find a balance, we’re not consumed in basketball,” A.J. Plitzuweit said. “We definitely have an awareness of basketball and we all help each other in a way to learn and grow in basketball and through life.”
The Plitzuweit family has always focused on family, but being a coach and mother to young kids is difficult at times, Dawn Plitzuweit said.
“As a mother, it’s really challenging because you have a lot of guilt trips about being away from your kids or not being able to spend quality time with your kids, or the quantity of time that you want,” Dawn Plitzuweit said. “My husband’s always been really good at reminding me it’s not about the quantity, it’s about quality and that’s kind of how we try to live our lives.”
Even though they don’t always focus on basketball, that doesn’t mean the competitive nature goes away. A.J. Plitzuweit said there is always a competition, whether it’s basketball or miscellaneous activities like eating.
Dawn Plitzuweit also said competition is a large part of their family dynamic.
“If it’s about who can water ski the longest the furthest, whatever it is, there’s a competition that’s involved,” Dawn Plitzuweit said. “If it’s about who makes breakfast or dinner or lunch for us, or who cleans up, there’s usually some kind of competition to how quickly or how good it is. It becomes a fun way for us to kind of fuel some of that competition in our family.”
A.J. Plitzuweit being home has allowed the family to spend more time together, Dawn Plitzuweit said. A.J. said he has a unique experience getting to see his mom almost daily.
As for the basketball court, Dawn Plitzuweit said she won’t say who the best basketball player in the family is.
“Great question, I’m not answering that one,” Dawn Plitzuweit said. “I’m going to guess if you ask anyone in our family, they probably all identify somebody different.”