The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 97   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? He was done. He watched the second half on a seven- inch television screen in the Michigan locker room, cring- ing over big Spartan gains that he might have prevented. "There was a touchdown run straight up the mid- dle, that should have been my play," he noted. "We screwed the defense up. The linebacker and lineman ended up in the same hole. "Before that, we were do- ing fine. We didn't execute on a couple of plays, specifi- cally from my position, that let the game get to where it went. I don't want to say it's my fault, but …" He came up big in Michi- gan's other huge rivalry game that season. Ohio State head coach John Cooper elected to go for it on fourth-and-one at his own 29. Buckeyes quarterback Greg Frey didn't stand a chance. "They tried to run a sweep or an option play off-tackle, to my side," Hutchinson recalled. "The offensive lineman didn't even come off the ball. It almost felt like he stood up, because he didn't come off the ball. "I drove him back about a half- yard, and I can see Frey coming down the line. He's going to have to go around me to not get stopped in the backfield. He couldn't. "I remember watching this whole play, thinking, this is your fourth- down play? We stopped them, got the ball back, J.D. Carlson kicked a field goal and we win. It was so anti- climactic. Thank you, Coach Cooper." One television commentator de- scribed the Wolverines as "the best 8-3 team in America" after they'd pushed on for another Big Ten title. Soon enough, Hutchinson had to decide whether or not to push on. He recalled a conversation with Michigan trainer Paul Schmidt, in which Schmidt explained he'd experi- enced enough back issues that nobody would blame him for taking a medical scholarship and hanging up the cleats. "I still remember Schmitty tell- ing me this," Hutchinson said. "I'm like, 'What the hell are you talking about? I'm playing football.' It's just the football player's mentality. When you come face to face with that, and somebody tells you that you could be done, that's when you say, 'Whoa. This is a pretty delicate scenario.'" Hutchinson stayed, and became a champion twice more. The first-team All-American served as a captain of the 1992 Wolverines, who went un- defeated (9-0-3) and stormed past Washington in the Rose Bowl. Hutchinson wouldn't have changed a thing. Those last two years mean a great deal to him, the Wolverines win- ning 19 straight Big Ten games at one point and completing their handful of conference championship rings. "I don't think we took it for granted, because we continued to win, but that's all we knew," he said. "A bad season for us was sharing the Big Ten title." He'd been accepted to medical school, but put it off to give the NFL a shot. He signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns — with Bill Belichick as head coach and Nick Saban as his defensive coordinator — but realized it wasn't meant to be, bowing out after rookie camp. "I clearly loved and maxi- mized everything I could do in college football, but the NFL wasn't the be-all, end- all to me," he said. "If you're not going to have the all-in mentality — especially for a tweener, because they were moving me to linebacker — it would have been very dif- ficult for me to stick in the NFL." He stuck in med school, then through 120-hour workweeks of resi- dency and through two-plus decades as an emergency doc at Beaumont. His football rigors served him well in the early medical grind, he noted, when perseverance allowed him to test out in the top 15 percent in the nation. "It's like football," he insisted. "You might not be the fastest or the strongest, but if you put in the effort, that goes a long way." He put in the effort. He stayed, at U-M and through every academic and emergency room challenge. You know the rest. ❏ Michigan Accomplishments: Participated on five Big Ten championship squads, playing in four Rose Bowls … Performed as a starting defensive end in four seasons, posting 149 career tackles with an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery … A first-team All-American in 1992, he earned Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year honors that season. Michigan Memory: "The most lasting impression is the Rose Bowl. By playing in four Rose Bowls and playing at UCLA, we played five games there. To see that as the home team, the away team, the winner, the loser, to be the captain, to fly in a helicopter and land at the Rose Bowl as a senior — it was me, Elvis [Grbac], Corwin [Brown] and Mo [head coach Gary Moeller]. "Everything surrounding that ultimate goal, that we reached pretty much every year. To have that be the prize, and say you did it every year, it's such a unique and special experience for me. "From a big-picture standpoint, it's my favorite memory of my playing days." Professional Accomplishments: In his 21st year as an emergency room doc- tor at Beaumont Hospital … An assistant professor the past six years at Oakland University William Beaumont Medical School. Education: Earned a B.S. in Kinesiology in 1993; an M.D. at Michigan in 1997. Family: Married to Melissa, a '95 Michigan grad. They have a 21-year-old daughter Mia, a 19-year-old daughter Aria and 17-year-old son Aidan, an incom- ing football player for Jim Harbaugh. The Chris Hutchinson File Hutchinson, who recorded 149 career tackles, was part of five Big Ten championship squads at Michigan and played in four Rose Bowls. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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