New Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit was asked about the staff she would be assembling. She was noncommittal, saying only she was working hard on the process.
Her agreement with the University of Minnesota allows for an assistant coaching salary pool of $525,000.
It would be logical to expect that much of the staff she had at West Virginia — who went there with her from South Dakota — could find its way to Dinkytown.
Jason Jeschke was Plitzuweit's associate head coach at West Virginia, and he's been coaching with her since coming to South Dakota in 2017. Assistant Aaron Horn joined Plitzuweit's staff at South Dakota in 2016.
Ariel Braker — a two-year starter and three-time captain at Notre Dame from 2010-14 — joined the group for one season at South Dakota before following to West Virginia. Braker, who made four trips to the Final Four for Notre Dame, has been heavily involved in recruiting for Plitzuweit.
"We're in the middle of that,'' Plitzuweit said. "We've got to recruit a staff that does a good job of teaching and developing. Our staff has a great deal of synergy.''
Mara Braun, Nia Holloway and Mallory Heyer — three-fourths of former coach Lindsay Whalen's highly touted 2022 recruiting class — had already announced their decision to stay in the program.
You can make it four. Those three, plus Amaya Battle, Aminata Zie, Maggie Czinano and Sophie Hart were all at Monday's news conference. After it was over, all four freshmen talked about their decision to stay together.
And while much of it was loyalty to a program they want to build into a winner, that wasn't all of it.
"Since we've been here we've all grown really close,'' Battle said. She, Braun, Heyer and Holloway all share an apartment. "So it's not even necessarily just for the school, it's for each other as well.''
It would appear Hart — who transferred from North Carolina State early in the season — is sticking around as well.
Plitzuweit knows most of these players. Some of the freshmen talked about having been recruited by her while in high school. Also, Plitzuweit, while at West Virginia, recruited Hart hard when she first went into the transfer portal.
Honoring the past
Plitzuweit began her remarks Monday by tipping her hat to Whalen.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lindsay as a player, as a coach, and most importantly as a person,'' Plitzuweit said. "Lindsay is one of our own, and I look forward to honor her and all of our alumni and coaches who have come before us who have laid the foundation upon which we want to build.''