USD introduces Kayla Karius as South Dakota women’s basketball coach

Kayla Karius speaks during her inaugural news conference on April 11, 2022 in Vermillion after being named the South Dakota women's basketball coach.

The first question the new South Dakota women’s basketball manager, Kayla Karius, was asked during the hiring process was “why the USD?”

“Yes!” said Karius on Monday, laughing. “I have it here.”

That was an easy answer, she said. And for South Dakota, that also made the choice easy: Karius was their next head coach.

Even when Dawn Plitzuweit left the program to be the next head coach in West Virginia, South Dakota President Sheila Gestring said the program remains on “an incredible track.” There were many talented candidates to choose from, she said, but in the end, Karius made it easy.

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“I could tell you what,” said USD Athletic Director David Herbster, “we got it just right.”

Karius was introduced as the 11th head coach in program history on Monday. Her hiring is yet another commitment to perhaps the best era of South Dakota players. After South Dakota, Karius spent three seasons in Wisconsin and then a year with Drake, where she was an assistant before returning to the Coyotes.

University of South Dakota women's basketball coach Kayla Karius is introduced by Sports Director David Herbster and President Sheila Gestring on April 11, 2022 in Vermillion.

An assistant under Dawn Plitzuweit for Plitzuweit’s first two seasons in South Dakota, Karius played a role in recruiting South Dakota greats Chloe Lamb and Hannah Sjerven, as well as Liv Korngable, Monica Arens, current Coyotes striker Allison Peplowski and more. She “spearheaded” the defense during her time with the program, saying she sees “eye-to-eye” with Plitzuweit the way she ran the team on the defensive end of the floor.

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