Michigan Basketball: Austin Hatch Helping Michigan in More Ways Than One


Mar 7, 2015; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Austin Hatch (30) passes the ball to Ryan Kapustka in the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Hatch has been inspiring people even before he came to Michigan. Hatch’s story is known by millions of people, both sports fans and non-sports fans alike. He has survived two plane crashes in his life with the second one occurring just a few weeks after he accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Michigan. John Beilein kept that commitment and after a long, miraculous comeback Hatch was part of the Michigan roster this past season. He appeared in five games at the Crisler Center, and scored his first and only career point on a free throw against Coppin State. Hatch will continue to inspire his teammates, coaches, and fans next year, but it will be in a different role.

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Hatch will no longer be a member of Michigan’s active roster, but he will be with the team as a student assistant coach. His scholarship is also still going to be honored as a medical scholarship. That means Michigan basketball now has one more athletic scholarship available to them for next season. In a press release this morning Hatch was quoted saying, “Basketball has always been a huge part of my life, however, it is what I play, not who I am. It was a goal of mine to return to the game that I love so much and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to play for Michigan. After all that I have been through, it was a dream come true for me to put on a Michigan jersey and get into a game at Crisler Center.

Basketball has always been a huge part of my life, however, it is what I play, not who I am.

“As I have progressed through this first season, I know that I am not where I want to be, both academically and athletically. My priority is academics and I feel that it is in my best interest to devote more time to my studies. This decision honors my father, and it is something that I know he would agree with and be proud of me for making.

“Coach Beilein, the staff and my teammates have been so understanding of my situation. They have supported me through everything I have been through and I now view them as part of my extended family. My words cannot, and would not, adequately express my gratitude for all they have done and continue to do for me.

“I am honored to be, and will be, a part of the Michigan Basketball program going forward — in whatever capacity my studies allow me to be. I am a Michigan Wolverine for life. Again, I am honored and truly grateful that I am in a position to say that.”

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The open athletic scholarship will come in handy for Michigan as they look to fill out their roster for next season. They are still in the running for a couple of top 100 recruits in Jaylen Brown and Kenny Williams. Either of the two would be great additions to an already stacked roster.

Austin Hatch is an asset to the Michigan basketball program no matter what his role is. With this transition he will continue to inspire teammates and at the same time allow the team to get stronger with the scholarship that opens up. It is a win-win for everyone involved.