After switching to a virtual format for the past two years due to the ongoing pandemic, the “Michigan Softball Academy” sponsored by the University of Michigan Wolverines softball team is returning to an in-person format this year.
The 13th annual fundraising event to benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS) is scheduled for Thursday April 28 on Alumni Field, which is located inside the Wilpon Complex on the university’s athletic campus.
To donate to help the Wolverines reach their fundraising goal this year click here.
Amid the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 & 2021, ACS and legendary Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins, now in her 38th season leading the Wolverines, transformed the event to a virtual format and raised nearly $200,000.
In 2018, the Wolverines and Hutchins became the first NCAA women’s team, in any sport, to raise $1 million dollars for the American Cancer Society and since 2010, the annual event has raised a total of more than $1.39 million the ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative.
During this year’s event volunteer team captains and their registered team members will participate in a fantasy camp of sorts on Alumni Field (the Wolverines home).
Participants will spend the evening interacting with Wolverines softball student-athletes who will teach them the tips and tricks on how to successfully throw, hit, pitch, catch, run the bases and slide the bases. The evening will conclude with a social mixer inside the Jack Roth Stadium located atop Michigan Stadium that includes food, drinks, a guest panel moderated by Ira Weintraub, co-host of “The Michigan Insider” which airs weekdays 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Talk 1050AM WTKA, and a silent auction.
The spirit of the academy is carried on yearly by the volunteer team captains, many of whom have been involved since the first event in 2010. They make it their goal each year to energize their teams to fundraise to help the American Cancer Society achieve its goal of defeating breast cancer.
This year for the second-time in the event’s history a home run derby, featuring former Wolverines football players, will be held at the conclusion of the on-field clinic portion of the event.
Scheduled to participate in the home run derby are former Wolverines football players Mike Hart, Denard Robinson and John Wangler and new Wolverines football play-by-play voice Doug Karsch who also co-hosts “Karsch and Anderson” weekdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on 97.1FM The Ticket. You can find out more about the home run derby by clicking here.
In 2016, former Wolverines player and current Wolverines Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh squared off with former Wolverines player Rick Leach. Harbugh failed to hit a home run during 15 attempts while Leach, who played 10 seasons of Major League Baseball, hit one home run to claim victory.
Each year the event is spearheaded by an honorary chairwoman and this year Hutchins and the academy committee selected Wolverines softball alum and 2020 Team USA Olympic silver medalist Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester. She was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and All-American at Michigan (2009-12) and earned the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2012. She has been with the USA Softball Women’s National Team since 2012, winning a gold medal and two silvers at the WBSC Women’s World Championship.
Past chairwomen include Holly Rowe (sideline reporter for ESPN), Chrislan Manuel (wife of University of Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel), Sarah Harbaugh (wife of University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh), University of Michigan women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico, Kathleen Beilein (wife of former University of Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein), Sue Snyder (wife of former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder), Jennie Ritter (former Wolverines softball player, 2005 National Champion, 2005 Player of the Year, and 2-time All-American) and University of Michigan athletics beat writer Angelique Chengelis of “The Detroit News”.
So far 24 teams and more than 180 participants are registered for this year’s event and more than $103,000 has been raised toward the event’s goal of $125,000.
To sign up to participate in this year’s event click here.