The sunshine is bright and the face of Michigan softball is smiling.
Carol Hutchins is sitting on a memorial bench honoring her deceased mother outside of a 2,800-seat stadium that she -- the indomitable "Hutch" -- might as well have built herself.
She had previously worked as an assistant at Indiana and as head coach at Ferris State.Her career choice was made, despite her mother's persistent question: "When are you going to get a real job? Then this happened: By 2000, Hutchins was the all-time wins leader among all Michigan coaches in all sports -- female or male.As the highest-ranked team still alive, the second-seeded Wolverines will face No. Right now, though, Hutchins -- who normally refuses to speak publicly about herself -- is talking.Out in the open, she's here to consider where she's been and what's next.In 2005, the Wolverines claimed a national championship.
Through 2016, the program has now accumulated 12 WCWS appearances, a ridiculous figure for a program that plays nearly its entire winter non-conference schedule on the road.
Hutchins' steely exterior has created a sort of Hollywood typecast of a gruff, tough softball coach. At 59 years old, Hutchins is her own character and is beginning to see that, with no end in sight, the end actually is in sight. I have no plan." This week, the plan is to go to Oklahoma City.
"A lot of people ask when I'm going to retire," Hutchins says. Michigan is 51-5 and heading back to the Women's College World Series.
She was hired at U-M because her predecessor, Bob De Carolis, didn't see college softball as a viable career.
In reality, at the time, he was right, but Title IX was beginning to knock over the scaffolding of collegiate athletics.
So I always came clean." This is why Hutchins believes lying to be life's worst character flaw. At 16 years old, Hutchins tried out and made the Lansing Lassies, the Laurels' farm team. Hutchins played shortstop for the Lassies and was promoted to the Laurels one year later.