|Role:||Head Coach for Michigan Wolverines|
Carol Sue Hutchins is an American softball coach. In 31 years as the head coach of Michigan Wolverines softball (1985–present), she has more than 1,400 career wins, more than any other coach in University of Michigan history in any sport, male or female. As of April 2nd, 2016, Hutchins had a career record of 1,458 wins, 474 losses, and 4 ties, for a .754 winning percentage. She led the Wolverines to their first NCAA softball championship in 2005.
On April 2nd, 2016, Hutchins became the winningest head coach in NCAA Division I Softball history when Michigan defeated Indiana, passing Margie Wright’s record of 1,457 career wins.
A native of Lansing, Michigan, Hutchins attended Everett High School, where she was an All-City basketball player from 1973 to 1975. Hutchins also played for the Lansing Laurels, an Amateur Softball Association fastpitch team that finished as high as fifth nationally. After graduating from high school, Hutchins attended Michigan State University, where she played on the Spartans’ varsity basketball and softball teams from 1976 to 1979. Hutchins was Michigan’s State’s starting shortstop as a freshman and helped the Michigan State softball team win an Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women National Softball Championship.
After graduating from Michigan State in 1979, Hutchins attended Indiana University where she received a master’s degree in physical education in 1981. She began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Indiana in 1981 and next became the head coach at Ferris State University in 1982. In 1983, she was hired as an assistant coach at Michigan, a position she held 1983-1984.
She became the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines softball team in 1985. When she took over as head coach, Hutchins reportedly “had a tiny salary, an only slightly larger budget, and had to take care of her own field, throwing down lime and riding the lawn tractor.” Hutchins joked that there is still a dent in the fence from a day the tractor “just went wild.” Since Hutchins became Michigan’s coach, the team has never had a losing season. Hutchins’ teams have also won 16 Big Ten Conference regular-season titles and 16 NCAA regional championships. She has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year on ten occasions and National Fastpitch Coaches Association (“NFCA”) National Coach of the Year twice.
She led the Michigan softball team to its first NCAA Women’s College World Series championship in 2005. The 2005 Michigan team was the first team from East of the Mississippi River to win the Women’s College World Series. The Ann Arbor News described the team’s accomplishment this way:
“What happened during the past five months might be the most unlikely accomplishment in the history of a storied athletics program, analogous to setting out to win an NCAA hockey title at the University of New Mexico. Then doing it. Now, before you dismiss that as hyperbole, consider a few factors. Like the fact that, because of cold weather, the Wolverines played their first 33 games on the road, roughly half the season. Try doing that in football or basketball. Then there’s recruiting. Softball is still a sport dominated by West Coast talent. … There’s a reason no team East of the Mississippi had won an NCAA softball title until now.”
After Michigan beat No. 1 ranked Arizona in March 2005, Hutchins told a reporter, “Yes, there is softball east of the Rockies.” The performance of the 2005 team also set Michigan records in several categories:
After winning the World Series, Hutchins and her team visited the White House in July 2005, where they met with President George W. Bush, something Hutchins called “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
In March 2000, she recorded her 638th win, giving her more career wins than any other coach in University of Michigan history in any sport, male or female. In 2007, she became the seventh coach in NCAA softball history, and the first in any sport at the University of Michigan, to reach 1,000 career wins. After winning her 1,000th game, Hutchins told a reporter that her greatest pride did not come from the 1,000 wins, but from her ability to influence how her players look at life, “to get them to work together and to meet standards, to show them they can lead as women.” When she was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame, her players presented her with a scrapbook with a note from one saying, “I came here a girl with potential and left here a woman with no limits.” Hutchins noted that those 15 words matter more than the 1,000 wins.
In 2006, Hutchins was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame. She has also been inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame.
In June 2011, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame announced that Hutchins had been selected for induction into the Hall at a ceremony set for September 15, 2011, in Novi, Michigan.
In December 2016, Carol was awarded the inaugural Pat Summitt Coaching Award