Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins reflects on her team's loss to Michigan State in Big Ten tournament and the need to recapture the energy to compete in the NCAA Tournament. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins received an out-of-the blue phone call Tuesday from Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, for whom she has tremendous respect.
Hutchins and her team practiced Tuesday ahead of their NCAA Regional that begins Friday against Notre Dame in Lexington, Ky.
Izzo was talking to a former Michigan basketball player from years back, and their conversation turned to Hutchins. Izzo then decided to research Hutchins on Wikipedia and then called her.
“’Man, all those championships, and all those wins, how old are you? You must be old,’” Hutchins said laughing while relating their telephone conversation. “He was totally giving me a hard time.
“I’ve gotten to meet him once or twice. I’m a huge fan. I always have been. I love Tom Izzo. He’s just genuine.”
Izzo said he had hoped to drop by the field recently when Michigan was playing at Michigan State. He did watch the Spartans’ drubbing of Michigan last Friday in a Big Ten Tournament second-round game and pointed out to Hutchins that her team wasn’t wasn't very good that night. She agreed.
“‘Is that why you called?’” Hutchins, still laughing, said she asked him. “(He said,) ‘No. Not after the year I had. No.’”
Hutchins said the conversation focused on how dominant a program she has built.
“He was really calling to be, I think just to be friendly,” she said. “He was noting our success, our NCAA Tournament. He was noting our success to tell me personally.”
They have only spoken a few times. The first was a few years ago after a story was published about Hutchins saving the life of a recruit’s father who had collapsed because of a heart attack.
“He had read the story and was all enthralled about the story,” Hutchins said. “He thought it was amazing.”
Hutchins said the conversation Tuesday with Izzo was special.
“He’s a coach’s coach,” she said. “I’m really appreciative because I’m a big fan anyway. I think he’s great.”