The Wolverine

October 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2022 THE WOLVERINE 39 BY CLAYTON SAYFIE I n August, after 38 seasons at the helm of Michigan softball, leg- endary coach Carol Hutchins an- nounced her retirement. She had just completed her 39th overall season as a head coach, having also led the Ferris State program in 1982, and left the game with 1,707 victories, the most in NCAA softball history, along with a career win- ning percentage of .755 (1,707-555-5). Hutchins still laughs about a phone call she had with her mother, Ivy, 40 years ago. "I came to Ann Arbor as the assis- tant coach for $3,000," Hutchins said, referring back to her arrival to the U-M program in 1983. "I had just finished my master's degree, and my mother said to me, 'When are you going to get a real job?' And I said, 'It'll work out; it'll al- ways work out.' I wasn't worried. "And then in 2005, when I was being carted into the national championship press conference, I was able to call my mom on the way — she was unable to attend — and the first thing she said to me was, 'You haven't been wearing your sunscreen, have you?' And the next thing she said was, 'You know, this has really worked out.' And, you know, it really has." All told, Hutchins led U-M to 12 Col- lege World Series appearances, includ- ing in 2005, when the Wolverines won the national championship by beating UCLA in a wild 10-inning Game 3. The title marked the first time a team east of the Mississippi River had won it all. She never suffered a losing season, won the Big Ten regular season 22 times and swept the Big Ten Tournament on 10 occasions. Under Hutchins, the Wol- verines made 29 NCAA Tournaments, all consecutive beginning in 1992. Her success wasn't just astounding for a northern coach — it's more than impressive for any program to reach that level. And given Michigan is still winning, it begs the question, why would the 65-year-old walk away now? "I can tell you that I had a number of people say, 'I thought you were going to coach forever.' And I said, 'So did I.' It's a process that you go through, and honestly, there's not just a moment that you decide. You go through different processes," Hutchins explained. "The only way that I've ever made any decisions is to go back to my simple core value — what is best for this program. And that's how I'll leave it." That principle is one Michigan is rooted in. She learned it from former head football coaches Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr, infused her program with it and found success. "Two of the people that taught me the most about what it meant to be a 'Michigan Man' — Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr," Hutchins said. "They inspired me over the years, and they taught me what that meant — and that's what it means to be a 'Michigan Woman.' Those are the same qualities and values that we value in the women, so I'm appreciative of them. END OF AN ERA Softball Coach Carol Hutchins Retires After 38 Seasons At The Helm In her remarkable career, Hutchins led the Wolverines to 22 Big Ten regular-season champi- onships, 10 Big Ten Tournament crowns, 29 NCAA Tournament trips, 12 appearances in the Women's College World Series and the 2005 national championship. She retired as the win- ningest coach in NCAA softball history with 1,707 victories. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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