Former Michigan basketball player and student assistant/manager Austin Hatch was named one of five recipients of the Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award on Thursday.
The national award is presented by the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A) and honors student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.
Hatch survived two deadly plane crashes in 2003 and 2011 that claimed the lives of his mother, sister, brother, father and stepmother. He suffered severe injuries in the second plane accident, which happened nine days after he accepted a scholarship offer from Michigan coach John Beilein.
After being in a coma for eight weeks with a traumatic brain injury, Hatch had to undergo extensive rehab to relearn how to talk, walk and, eventually, play basketball again. His road to recovery forced him to miss a year of high school and reclassify to Michigan's 2014 recruiting class as Beilein never wavered on his offer.
Hatch appeared in five games his freshman year and stamped his name in the program's record book with a free throw — his first and only point scored — against Coppin State on Dec. 22, 2014. He moved to a medical scholarship the following season, which ended his playing career, and remained with the team as a student assistant/manager.
However, he dressed in uniform, went through warmups and was announced with the starting lineup in a touching and emotional "Senior Day" send-off prior to Michigan's home finale against Ohio State.
Hatch graduated in April with a degree in organizational studies and will start a full-time job in the franchise development department at the Domino’s Pizza corporate office in Ann Arbor in July.
Hatch will be recognized during the N4A Convention Awards Luncheon on June 26 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C. along with Florida Atlantic's Azeez Al-Shaair, South Florida's Meredith Bissette, Florida State's Guy Iradukunda and Georgia State's Crystal Lee.