The University of Michigan athletic department will honor the career of retired softball coach Carol Hutchins by renaming its softball stadium in her honor.
The Board of Regents voted March 23 to designate the home of U-M’s softball program as Alumni Field at Carol Hutchins Stadium.
The venue was constructed in 1982 as Varsity Diamond, renamed Alumni Field in 1992, and incorporated into the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex in 2007 through numerous upgrades and added amenities. It will remain part of the Wilpon Complex, flanked by the Donald R. Shepherd Softball Center.
“I cannot think of a better way to recognize Carol Hutchins’ contributions to the University of Michigan community, to the game of softball and to women’s athletics than to rename the venue that she put on the map,” said Warde Manuel, Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics.
“I appreciate the work of our University Naming Committee and the unwavering support from the Board of Regents and cannot wait for Hutch to watch her first game at a stadium named in her honor.”
Hutchins, who completed her 39th overall season as a head coach — 38 of them at U-M — in 2022, is the winningest coach in NCAA softball history with a career record of 1,707-555-5 and a winning percentage of .755.
“The biggest honor is being coach to so many young women and being that mentor, and if there’s one thing I will believe in until the day I die, is that athletics is meant to be part of the educational process,” Hutchins said at the regents meeting, where she was surprised with the announcement of the stadium naming.
“The lessons our kids learned on my diamond are what they come back to campus with,” she said. “It’s the honor of my lifetime to have worn the block M and be part of this program. It’s the greatest honor of all. Thank you so much.”
Hutchins guided U-M to the 2005 NCAA championship after a 65-7 campaign, becoming the first program east of the Mississippi River to capture the national title, highlighting a career that included 22 Big Ten Conference championships, 10 Big Ten Tournament crowns, 29 NCAA Tournament appearances and 12 Women’s College World Series appearances.
She was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2006.
Hutchins reclaimed the top spot as the NCAA’s all-time winningest softball coach on Feb. 25, 2022, with a 3-0 win against Northern Kentucky to pass Arizona’s Mike Candrea’s record of 1,674 career wins. Hutchins also is the winningest coach — male or female — in Michigan Athletics history.
Hutchins’ squads captured 22 Big Ten regular-season titles from 1995-2021, including nine in a row from 2008-16, and 10 Big Ten Tournament crowns, sweeping the conference championships seven times: 1995, ’96, ’98, 2002, ’05, ’15 and ’19. Her teams tied for the sixth-most Women’s College World Series appearances in NCAA history.
Hutchins was named Big Ten Coach of the Year 18 times, National Fastpitch Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year eight times, and NFCA National Coach of the Year twice, in 1995 and 2005.
Hutchins founded the Michigan Softball Academy in 2010 in conjunction with the program’s annual “Pink Game,” a one-night, onfield clinic for adults that raises funds for the American Cancer Society. The Wolverines have raised more than $1.5 million since the program’s original Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk participation in 2007.