ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A Michigan freshman who survived two plane crashes that killed his parents and siblings scored the first point of his college career in the Wolverines’ 86-43 exhibition victory Monday night against Wayne State (Mich.).
Austin Hatch, 20, missed the first of two free throws before sinking the second shot with 12 seconds remaining in Ann Arbor.
Hatch’s teammates and coach John Beilein hugged him afterward.
“Coach B told me with about five minutes left in the game, ‘Austin, stay loose, and we are going to get you in there,’ so I did my best to stay loose and when he called my number I was ready,” Hatch said. “Fortunately, I went in there and had an opportunity to make a foul shot. It was pretty special.”
The 6-foot-6 Hatch spent eight weeks in a coma with a traumatic brain injury after a 2011 crash that killed his father and stepmother. The single-engine Beechcraft A36 Bonanza flew into a garage near Charlevoix Municipal Airport in northern Michigan.
A 2003 crash killed his mother, brother and sister. His father, Dr. Stephen Hatch, was the pilot both times.
Austin Hatch verbally committed to Michigan 10 days before the 2011 crash.
Beilein had said the school would honor Hatch’s scholarship.
“I don’t want to be known by the time my career comes to an end here as just ‘a cool story,'” said Hatch, who grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but went to live with his uncle in Southern California in 2013. “Obviously what happened to me is kind of unique, but that is what happened. That is not who I am. That is a big part of my life, but I am about moving forward and making the most of my experience here.”
Beilein said Hatch had two looks at a jump shot but turned them down “for the team” before getting fouled.
“We don’t know how often we’re going to get him in a game this year, but anytime we can get him in during a situation like that, we’re going to get him in,” Beilein said.
Caris LeVert led Michigan with 16 points, while Michael Lewis led the Warriors with 15.