Michigan Basketball Video & More-Hatch Presents Beilein With Lifetime Award
By now, just about everyone knows the story of guard Austin Hatch and his journey to Michigan after surviving two deadly plane crashes. Some who didn’t were given an emotional introduction to it when the former U-M basketball player and now graduate introduced Beilein at an event in which the coach was presented with the 2019 John Wooden Keys to Life Award.
Hatch told his story to a new audience and offered many heartfelt words.
“What he does is not as important as how he does it,” Hatch said. “Independent of the great records we’ve had or the championships we’ve won, I’d like to talk about why Michigan is such a special place. It all starts with the leadership of Coach Beilein.”
He then told his story of how his life changed following the plane crash he survived, one that claimed the lives of his father and stepmother. A previous crash when he was younger took his mother and siblings.
Hatch was left debilitated with a closed head injury and fighting for his life.
“Coach B.’s commitment to me never wavered. He said, ‘when you make a promise to someone and are going to give him a scholarship, you’re going to honor that,” Hatch said in introducing his coach. “I think Coach B. honored my scholarship because he saw it as the right thing to do. He always told us, more important always showed us, to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.
“Coach told me, ‘Austin, there’s not a coach in the country who wouldn’t have honored your scholarship.’ But Coach, you didn’t just honor my scholarship. You did so much more than that. You showed us all what it looks like to lead with integrity, what it looks like to serve … and to genuinely care about those you were leading.
“You led by example, coach … you’ve done more than just help others. You’ve changed lives.”
Especially his, Hatch continued.
“You said the reason you coach is not just to make an impact on a game, but an impact for life. I’m here to tell you, you drastically changed the course of my life. I recall being dropped off at the PDC [practice facility] June 2014 to officially start my college journey. I extended my hand to shake your hand and you gave me one of the most meaningful hugs I’ve ever been given, kind of like my dad gave me after I accepted the offer to com play for you.”
An emotional Beilein was in tears when he took the stage to accept the award.
“You do it and it’s the right thing, and the benefits have been incredible ever since then. This guy is a great … talk about a purpose in life. It’s incredible about giving us that opportunity, and how he has this opportunity. It all kind of fits together.”
It served as a lesson for everyone in attendance. Beilein’s family, including son Patrick (now the head coach at Niagara), were in attendance, as was former West Virginia standout Mike Gansey.
It was an emotional night and a well-deserved honor.
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