Brandon's Blog: Hutch Understands Team, Family and Community

April 23, 2013

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

From the first University of Michigan varsity team (baseball) in 1865, an amazing number of student-athletes and coaches have found a way to make our varsity sports programs a noble tradition in the world of collegiate athletics.

Everyone works hard to win championships, create positive experiences for our student-athletes, and prepare them to be successful in life. It is about "The Team, The Team, The Team."

Our Wolverine teams also work at giving back to the community and charitable organizations.

Michigan softball is a perfect example of what one program can accomplish. Under the leadership of head coach Carol Hutchins, not only has the team elevated its athletic performance through the years, Hutch has developed a team of individuals who work together to create something bigger than themselves.

Next Thursday (May 2), the Michigan softball team will host its fourth annual Michigan Softball Academy.

This is not an event for girls or women only. The academy is for anyone who wants to play on Alumni Field at the Wilpon Complex -- or if you just want stop by, you can enjoy the social camaraderie and donate to this worthy cause.

The Michigan Softball Academy is modeled after the successful Women's Football Academy, initiated in 2000 by former U-M football coach Lloyd Carr. The softball edition includes a three-hour instructional clinic, featuring lessons on how to throw, hit, pitch, catch, field and run the bases, as well as games, a social mixer and silent auction.

As with the softball program, Hutch continues to raise the bar with the Michigan Softball Academy. The inaugural event registered 84 participants and brought in $30,000. With one week to go before the 2013 event, more than 125 registrants are getting ready to take the field. The increase in participants means an increase in donations. To date, the softball team has raised more than $250,000 for the American Cancer Society.

When the Wolverines host Northwestern the day after this year's academy, they are going to wear their pink jerseys to create additional awareness for the need for help for this dreaded disease.

When the Wolverines are introduced to take the field, a breast cancer survivor will also take the field alongside the U-M player, and she too will be recognized.

The Michigan Softball Academy was an outgrowth of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. The Wolverine softball players also participate in the October event and have done so every year since 2007. The academy is the Wolverines' team effort to use their name and their skills to bring more awareness and donations to the American Cancer Society.

This is the style of team building that the University of Michigan prides itself on. Hutch has built a Big Ten and national powerhouse. Now she and her team are building something for the community.

This Michigan Softball Academy will be special for Hutch. It will be the first academy she will hold since her dad -- the original Hutch -- passed away April 13 at the age of 89.

Robert Hutchins was a decorated World War II Marine and a retired Michigan State Trooper. His family was important to him, and those characteristics were not lost on our Hutch.

"I am very lucky, I have two families," said Hutch following the passing of her father. "I need these kids and they need me."

Everyone who has played for Hutch or works with her knows we all need her type of leadership to make a difference on the field and in our community.

If you can, join Hutch and the U-M softball team at the Michigan Softball Academy. You will have fun, and you to will make a difference in our community.

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