Carol Hutchins served 38 seasons at the helm of the University of Michigan softball program (1985-2002) and retired as the winningest coach in NCAA softball history with a career record of 1,707-555-5 (.755). Hutchins is also the winningest coach — male or female — in Michigan Athletics history!
“Hutch” led Michigan to the NCAA Women’s College World Series 12 times, and, in 2005, the Wolverines became the first program east of the Mississippi River to claim the NCAA national championship when they defeated UCLA in the championship series. Hutchins’ squads also captured 22 Big Ten regular-season titles, 10 Big Ten Tournament championships and qualified for the NCAA Tournament 29 times (1992-93, ’95-2022).
Inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006, Hutchins earned 18 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year honors, eight NFCA Regional Coach of the Year awards and a pair of NFCA National Coach of the Year honors. In 2016, she was named the inaugural recipient of espnW’s Pat Summitt Coaching Award, presented to the coach who ”exemplifies the character and courage” of the legendary basketball coach who led the Tennessee Lady Vols.
The Wolverines received 69 total All-America citations under Hutchins, including 23 first-team nods, while 14 earned Academic All-America accolades. Michigan players claimed 20 Big Ten Player of the Year awards, 16 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year awards, and 13 Big Ten Freshman of the Year awards during her coaching tenure. Wolverine players also accumulated 202 Academic All-Big Ten awards, 212 All-Big Ten citations and 154 All-Mideast or All-Great Lakes Region certificates.
Carol Hutchins is the consummate coach — making sure that her players excel — 16 of her players have received Academic All American status and 16 have earned Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Awards. She invests in her players to become their best selves. When she was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame, her players presented her with a scrapbook with notes from her players as to how she influenced them — One note said, “I came here a girl with potential and left here a woman with no limits”. Hutchins said that “those 15 words mean more to me than the wins”. Hutchins continues to volunteer her time to make sure women have more opportunities in sports — she mentors young coaches, serves on various national and state committees that are trying to level the playing field for women in sports.