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Michigan's Women's College World Series opener vs. LSU was postponed until Friday due to rain.
Coach Carol Hutchins explains how the addition of synthetic turf at Alumni Field will benefit Michigan softball for years to come (Sept. 13, 2013).
U-M head coach Carol Hutchins sits down in this Q&A interview (July 25, 2013).
The Wolverines held their final home practice Tuesday (May 28, 2013) before departing for Oklahoma for the Women's College World Series
The Wolverines will next play in a Super Regional hosted in Ann Arbor against No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette (May 20, 2013).
Head coach Carol Hutchins is in her 33rd season at the helm of the University of Michigan softball program. The winningest coach in NCAA softball history, Hutchins has guided the Wolverines to an NCAA title and 19 Big Ten Conference titles and solidified Michigan among the top softball programs in the country. She was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006.
With a career record of 1,484-478-4 over her 33 seasons as a NCAA head coach, Hutchins owns more wins than any other coach -- in any division -- in NCAA softball history. She became the winningest coach with U-M's 8-0, five-inning decision at Indiana on Saturday, April 2, 2016, passing former Fresno State coach Margie Wright (1,457, 1980-2012). Hutchins is also the winningest coach -- male or female -- in Michigan Athletics history.
Michigan posted a 52-7 record in 2016 -- its third 50-win season in four years -- en route to an unprecedented ninth straight Big Ten title and a spot in the NCAA Women's College World Series -- the program's 12th overall and third in four years. Sierra Romero was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, Megan Betsa repeated as Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Sierra Romero and four Wolverines were selected as NFCA All-Americans -- Romero, Betsa, Tera Blanco and Sierra Lawrence.
"Hutch" has been a part of the Michigan softball program since 1983 when she joined the staff as an assistant coach under Bob DeCarolis. She moved into the head coach position in 1985 and, in each of her 32 head coaching seasons, has continued Michigan's tradition of softball success. Michigan has never suffered a losing season in program history.
Hutchins has led the Wolverines to the Women's College World Series in 12 of the last 22 seasons, and, in 2005, the Maize and Blue became the first program east of the Mississippi River to claim the NCAA national championship when it defeated UCLA in the championship series. Michigan's record-setting 2005 season was the culmination of two decades of dedication for Hutchins and her current and former players and coaches. In that magical season, Michigan set records in a number of categories, including:
First softball national championship
A program-best 65 wins
A program-best 32 consecutive victories (spanning 47 days, from Feb. 13 to March 30)
First No. 1 ranking (March 22)
First No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament
First victory over a top-ranked opponent (6-2 win over No. 1 Arizona)
The 2005 season took on added significance when Hutchins was selected to be included in a pool of coaches for USA Softball's Summer Tour. Hutchins helped select both the USA Softball National and Elite teams and was appointed head coach for the Elite Team at the Canada Cup and made assistant coach for the National Team at the Japan Cup. The Elite Team posted a 10-1 record at the Canada Cup to earn the silver medal, while winning the Sendai Series at the Japan Cup.
Michigan returned to the WCWS championship series in 2015, ultimately settling for NCAA runner-up honors after falling to Florida in the third game of the best-of-three series. The 2015 Wolverines boasted a 60-8 record, led the nation with 118 home runs, also set program records in runs scored (540) and runs-batted in (504) and boasted a program-best five NFCA All-Americans.
Hutchins' squads have also captured 19 Big Ten regular-season titles, nine Big Ten Tournament championships and qualified for the NCAA Tournament 24 times (1992-93, '95-2016), earning 18 NCAA Regional crowns and making 12 appearances in the NCAA Women's College World Series (1995-98, 2001-02, '04-'05, '09, '13, '15-'16). Every four-year player since the 1991 recruiting class has been to the Women's College World Series.
She has earned 16 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year honors, nine NFCA Regional Coach of the Year awards and a pair of NFCA National Coach of the Year honors. The Hutchins-led Michigan coaching staff has garnered Great Lakes Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 13 of the last 19 seasons (1998-99, 2001-02, '04-'05, '08-'10, '13-'16) and was named Speedline/NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year for the first time in 2005.
The Wolverines have received 63 total All-America citations under Hutchins, including 22 first-team nods, while 16 have earned Academic All-America accolades. Michigan players have claimed 19 Big Ten Player of the Year awards, 14 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year awards, and 12 Big Ten Freshman of the Year awards during her coaching tenure. Wolverine players have accumulated 135 Academic All-Big Ten awards, 189 All-Big Ten citations and 129 All-Mideast or All-Great Lakes Region certificates. Four former Hutchins-coached Wolverines -- Jenny Allard, Vicki Morrow, Alicia Seegart and Bonnie Tholl -- were named to the Big Ten's All-Decade (1990s) team -- the most from any conference school.
Hutchins' players have also excelled at the international and professional levels. Amanda Chidester, a five-year veteran of the U.S. Women's National Team's, contributed to gold-medal efforts at the 2016 WBSC World Championship and, along with Sierra Romero, at the 2015 World Cup of Softball and Japan Cup. Former Michigan players Morrow (1987), Patti Benedict (1995) and Jordan Taylor (2011) were members of U.S. Pan American Games gold-medal teams. Maggie Viefhaus claimed gold with the USA junior team at the 2007 Junior Pan Am Championships and again at the 2007 Junior World Championships. Samantha Findlay, Tiffany Haas, Jessica Merchant and Jennie Ritter played for Hutchins during the 2005 Canada Cup and International Cup, while Findlay and Ritter joined Hutchins again in 2006 as the Wolverine trio led the USA squad to gold at the World University Games.
Michigan has sent 19 players to the professional ranks since 1995. Six former Wolverines currently play in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, including Sierra Romero, Lauren Sweet and Jordan Taylor with the first-place USSSA Pride.
On March 31, 2000, Hutchins moved to the top of the all-time win list for University of Michigan coaches -- female or male -- with win No. 638, a 1-0 victory vs. Indiana in the conference season-opening game. On February 28, 2007, she became just the seventh coach in NCAA softball history -- and the sixth in Division I -- to reach 1,000 career wins. She ranks as one of just three NCAA softball coaches to surpass 1,400 career wins and is on track to be the first to reach 1,500.
Before becoming Michigan's third softball coach, Hutchins spent one year as the head coach at Ferris State University (1982). While at Ferris, she led the Bulldogs to the NCAA Division II National Tournament and was selected Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. Hutchins was an assistant coach at Indiana University (1981) -- under legendary coach Gayle Blevins -- and at Michigan (1983-84).
A 1979 graduate of Michigan State University, Hutchins displayed her athletic talents in both basketball and softball (1976-79), helping the Spartans to the 1976 Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women National Softball Championship. In 2003, she was chosen as the recipient of the Nell Jackson Award, considered the highest honor the Michigan State Varsity "S" Club can give a female alumna for professional accomplishments and community service. She was also inducted into the Greater Lansing Athletic Hall of Fame in July 2000 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in September 2011.
Hutchins founded the Michigan Softball Academy in 2010 in conjunction with the program's annual "Pink Game." The academy is a one-night on-field clinic for adults that raises funds for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer organization. The 2016 Academy featured a record number of participants (400) and set a new benchmark for fundraising ($155,000). Hutchins and the Michigan softball program initially formed an affiliation with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for its annual walk in 2007. Since then, the Wolverines have raised nearly $750,000 for the American Cancer Society.
A native of Lansing, Michigan, Hutchins also holds a master's degree in physical education from Indiana (1981).