Legendary Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins retires after 38 seasons

Hutchins is winningest coach in NCAA softball history

Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins calls out instructions during an NCAA softball game against South Dakota State, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack, The Associated Press 2022)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Legendary University of Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins is retiring after 38 seasons with the Wolverines.

“I want to begin by expressing that today I am filled with pride, love, humility, and gratitude,” Hutchins said. “I have served as the head coach of Michigan softball for 38 years, and I am incredibly grateful to the university for this opportunity of a lifetime. I will forever bleed blue.”

Hutchins, 65, is the winningest coach in NCAA softball history. She amassed 1,707 victories and a winning percentage of .755 throughout her career.

“Words can not adequately describe my appreciation for all that Carol Hutchins has done for the University of Michigan, the sport of softball, nor for the impact she has had on the lives of countless young people,” Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manual said. “I also cannot succinctly articulate my personal sadness at her decision to retire from coaching while being so happy that Hutch can enjoy life beyond the game. Hutch is a force who elevated not only the sport of softball but generations of female athletes as a staunch advocate of equality. She has been a tireless fundraiser for societal causes, including the American Cancer Society, and I know that she will continue to impact lives beyond the game of softball. Carol Hutchins is a legend.”

Hutchins’ legacy

Hutchins led Michigan to an NCAA championship in 2005. It was the first time ever that a program east of the Mississippi River had captured the national title.

The Wolverines returned to the championship series in 2015, but fell to Florida in the rubber game.

Hutchins won 22 Big Ten regular-season titles and 10 Big Ten tournaments. Michigan made 29 NCAA Tournament appearances (including 27 in a row, currently) and 12 trips to the Women’s College World Series under her watch.

Michigan head coach Carol Hutchins, right, and South Dakota State head coach Krista Wood share a laugh on the field during an NCAA softball game, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (The Associated Press 2022)

She was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006.

“Hutch” is the winningest coach in the history of Michigan athletics. She joined the Michigan staff in 1983 and took over as head coach in 1985.

The Wolverines never had a losing season during her tenure.

Hutchins earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors 18 times and National Coach of the Year honors twice -- in 1995 and 2005

Full statement

Here’s a full statement from Hutchins:

Background information

Hutchins is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she played basketball and softball. She was inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021.

She spent one season as the head coach at Ferris State University in 1982 before joining the staff in Ann Arbor. The Bulldogs won the NCAA Division II National Tournament during that season.

Hutchins founded the Michigan Softball Academy in 2010, in conjunction with the program’s annual “Pink Game.” The Wolverines have raised more than $1.5 million for the American Cancer Society since the program’s original Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk participation in 2007.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.