Carol Hutchins

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Carol Hutchins
Hutchins visits the White House in 2005.
Biographical details
Born (1957-05-26) May 26, 1957 (age 66)
Lansing, Michigan
Playing career
1976–1979Michigan State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
National Softball
1982Ferris State
1983–1984Michigan (asst.)
National Softball
2005USA Women's Softball (asst.)
2005USA Women's Softball Elite Team
Head coaching record
Overall1,707–551–5 (.755)
Accomplishments and honors
Medal record
Assistant Coach for World Cup of Softball
Representing the  United States
Silver medal – second place 2005 Oklahoma City
Assistant Coach for Japan Softball Cup
Head Coach for Canada Cup USA Elite Team
Silver medal – second place 2005 South Surrey

Carol Sue Hutchins (born May 26, 1957) is an American former softball coach. In 38 years as the head coach of Michigan Wolverines softball, (1985–2022), she won more games than more than any other coach in University of Michigan history in any sport, male or female with 1,684 wins. Hutchins had a career record of 1,707 wins, 551 losses, and five ties, for a .759 winning percentage.[1] She led the Wolverines to their first NCAA softball championship in 2005.

On April 2, 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. She reclaimed the record as winningest head coach on February 25, 2022, passing Mike Candrea's record of 1,674.

Softball and basketball player[edit]

A native of Lansing, Michigan, Hutchins attended Everett High School, where she was an All-City basketball player from 1973 to 1975.[2] Hutchins also played for the Lansing Laurels, an Amateur Softball Association fastpitch team that finished as high as fifth nationally.[2] 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 a Michigan State starting shortstop as a freshman and helped the Michigan State softball team win an Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Softball Championship.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

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 the University of Michigan, a position she held from 1983 to 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."[3] Hutchins joked that there is still a dent in the fence from a day the tractor "just went wild."[3] Since Hutchins became Michigan's coach, the team has never had a losing season.[4]

Hutchins' teams have won 22 Big Ten Conference regular-season titles, nine Big Ten Conference softball tournament titles, and 18 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regional championships. She has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year on 18 occasions, National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Regional Coach of the Year nine times, and NFCA National Coach of the Year twice.[5][6]

She led the Michigan softball team to its first (NCAA) Women's College World Series championship in 2005.[5][7] The 2005 Michigan Wolverines softball team was the first team from East of the Mississippi River to win the Women's College World Series.[7][8][9] 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."[7]

After Michigan defeated No. 1 ranked Arizona in March 2005, Hutchins told a reporter, "Yes, there is softball east of the Rockies."[10] The performance of the 2005 team also set Michigan records in several categories:

  • The team's 65 victories was the most in program history.[4]
  • The team recorded 32 consecutive victories between February 13, 2005, and March 30, 2005.[4]
  • The team's 103 home runs tied for the second most in NCAA history.[4]
  • The team's first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.[4]

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."[9]

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.[4] 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.[3][4] 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."[3] 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.[3]

On October 4, 2017, Hutchins signed a five-year contract extension with the Wolverines.[11]

On February 25, 2022, Hutchins reclaimed the record as the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history, passing Mike Candrea's record of 1,674.[12] On May 1, 2022, she became the first softball coach to reach the 1,700 wins milestone.[13]

On August 24, 2022, Hutchins announced her retirement after 38 years as head coach at Michigan. At the time of her retirement, she was the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history with a record of 1,707–555–5. During her career as head coach, Michigan never suffered a losing season, and she led the team to 22 Big Ten regular-season titles from 1995–2021, including nine in a row from 2008–16, 10 Big Ten Tournament championships, and qualified for the NCAA Tournament 29 times, including each of the last 27 years.[14][15]

Honors and personal life[edit]

In 2000 Hutchins was inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame.[2][16] In 2006, she was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.[17] In 2011, she was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.[18] She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 2022.[19]

Hutchins is an avid mountain biker and runner, and continued playing organized softball and hockey until 1998.[2]

Head coaching record[edit]


Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Ferris State Bulldogs (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1982–1982)
1982 Ferris State 23–11 10–0 1st
Ferris State: 23–11 (.676) 10–0 (1.000)
Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten Conference) (1985–present)
1985 Michigan 28–20 16–8 2nd
1986 Michigan 32–17 12–12 5th
1987 Michigan 39–17 17–7 2nd
1988 Michigan 29–20 15–9 2nd
1989 Michigan 42–20 16–8 2nd
1990 Michigan 29–27 12–12 4th
1991 Michigan 36–19 15–9 3rd
1992 Michigan 37–24 22–6 1st NCAA Regional
1993 Michigan 46–13 21–5 1st NCAA Regional
1994 Michigan 34–26 18–10 T–3rd
1995 Michigan 50–12 22–6 1st Women's College World Series
1996 Michigan 51–14 20–4 1st Women's College World Series
1997 Michigan 56–16–1 18–4 2nd Women's College World Series
1998 Michigan 56–7 22–1 1st Women's College World Series
1999 Michigan 51–13–1 21–3 1st NCAA Regional
2000 Michigan 45–16–1 13–4 2nd NCAA Regional
2001 Michigan 43–17–1 17–3 1st Women's College World Series
2002 Michigan 50–11 15–3 1st Women's College World Series
2003 Michigan 44–16 13–5 2nd NCAA Regional
2004 Michigan 54–13 17–3 1st Women's College World Series
2005 Michigan 65–7 15–2 1st Women's College World Series Champion
2006 Michigan 44–15 14–4 2nd Knoxville Super Regional
2007 Michigan 47–13 12–4 3rd Waco Super Regional
2008 Michigan 52–8 18–2 T–1st Ann Arbor Super Regional
2009 Michigan 47–12 17–3 1st Women's College World Series
2010 Michigan 49–8 18–1 1st Ann Arbor Super Regional
2011 Michigan 53–6 18–2 1st Ann Arbor Regional
2012 Michigan 42–17 18–5 1st Tuscaloosa Super Regional
2013 Michigan 51–13 20–2 1st Women's College World Series
2014 Michigan 47–15 18–5 T–1st Tallahassee Super Regional
2015 Michigan 60–8 21–2 1st Women's College World Series Runner-up
2016 Michigan 52–7 21–2 1st Women's College World Series
2017 Michigan 43–13–1 20–3 2nd Seattle Regional
2018 Michigan 44–13 18–3 1st Lexington Regional
2019 Michigan 45–13 22–1 1st Ann Arbor Regional
2020 Michigan 15–8 0–0 Season cancelled due to COVID-19
2021 Michigan 38–8 36–6 1st Seattle Regional
2022 Michigan 38–18 14–8 4th Orlando Regional
Michigan: 1,684–540–5 (.757) 662–177 (.789)
Total: 1,707–551–5 (.755)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "U of M Softball". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ricardo Cooney (2000-07-05). "Ex-Spartan thrives as Michigan coach: Former Everett star Hutchins is five-time Big Ten coach of year". Lansing State Journal.
  3. ^ a b c d e "A milestone at U-M, a rock for her players: Coach Hutchins sets first-rate standard". Ann Arbor News. 2007-05-03.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Carol Hutchins bio". CBSi Advanced Media. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Protect The Block 'M': Long-time Michigan Coach Carol Hutchins changed the face of softball in the Big Ten and across the nation with her Wolverine philosophies". Big Ten Conference. 2007-04-03. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  6. ^ Paul, Tony (May 9, 2018). "UM's Carol Hutchins is Big Ten coach of year for 17th time in 34 seasons". The Detroit News. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "It can't get much better for Hutchins". Ann Arbor News. 2005-06-12.
  8. ^ Joanne C. Gerstner (2006-02-16). "Softball players bemoan sport's Olympics demise". The Detroit News.
  9. ^ a b Kevin Wright (2005-09-05). "National Championship marks softball first". The Michigan Daily.
  10. ^ Lou Ponsi (2005-03-21). "Softball: Michigan beats No. 1 Arizona to win Klassic; The fourth-ranked Wolverines win the final of the Fullerton tournament, 6–2". The Orange County Register.
  11. ^ Howard, Leah (October 4, 2017). "Hutchins Agrees to Five-Year Contract Extension". CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  12. ^ Kensing, Kyle (February 26, 2022). "Carol Hutchins Reclaims Winningest Coach In NCAA Softball". Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  13. ^ Zuke, Ryan (May 2, 2022). "Carol Hutchins earns win No. 1,700 as Michigan softball takes series vs. Minnesota". Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  14. ^ Howard, Leah (August 24, 2022). "Hutchins Announces Retirement After 38 Seasons at Helm of U-M Softball". CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  15. ^ Cossman, Barb (August 24, 2022). "The Profound Legacy of Carol Hutchins". CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  16. ^ "Hutchins Among Inductees in Lansing Area Sports Hall". CBS Interactive. July 11, 2000. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  17. ^ "Hall of Fame: Carol Hutchins". National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19.
  18. ^ "Lloyd Carr, Carol Hutchins among latest Michigan Sports Hall of Fame class". June 27, 2011.
  19. ^ "Carol Sue Hutchins". Michigan Women Forward. Retrieved 2024-01-26.
  20. ^ "Michigan Softball Year-by-Year Results". Archived from the original on November 26, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2013.

External links[edit]