Rhonda Revelle's future with Nebraska softball is uncertain. But the outpouring of support — from former players to parents to coaches at many levels — for the longtime head coach continues.
That includes Carol Hutchins. On Friday, the legendary Michigan coach did not hold back her feelings for her longtime friend and the circumstances surrounding Revelle being placed on paid administrative leave by NU.
"First of all, Rhonda is one of the most positive people that I've ever met," Hutchins told the Journal Star. "And I've talked to her after tough, tough losses over many years — and we go back 30 years — and she finds positives in everything.
"'Well, we were doing this better,' and 'I think we're on a good road.'"
Asked if she was shocked by Tuesday's news, Hutchins said, "Yeah, shocked. Outraged is a better word. I'd put my career on the line to defend her as a person."
"Her character is (being questioned). You can knock people's coaching or coaching styles, but this isn't about that. They're attacking her character. What's the complaint? What's the problem? Kids want to have a say in everything and you can't coach a team … a team is one heartbeat. You can't have 15, 20 individuals, and somebody's got to be in charge of that. The leader, the general.
"There's a lot of tough decisions to make. When you make a tough decision, there's always a bunch of people that don't agree with it, because they didn't go through the entire process of making it."
The Nebraska Athletic Department made it known Tuesday that Revelle was on paid administrative leave because of "concerns raised regarding our student-athletes."
The university has not expanded on the reasoning behind Revelle's current absence from the team, but the Journal Star learned that multiple players from the 2019 squad expressed concerns to administration about how they were treated, and players and staff members are being interviewed by compliance officials.
The university said it will not have any additional comments until a review is complete.
Reached Friday, Hutchins said there is a story that needs to be told.
"The story is really, who is running college athletics these days?" she asked. "Student-athletes. Kids say that you're yelling at them when you raise your voice when they can't hear you. They're in the outfield and it's like, 'Hey, move over!' 'Well, you're always yelling at me.' No, I'm not yelling. I'm trying to get your attention.
"Kids twist things into whatever they want and right now this is outrageous. And I've seen it happen to a lot of people."
Nebraska finished 21-31 this past season, and three of those losses came to Hutchins' Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The losses to Michigan came during a tough part of the season in which NU lost 12 straight and 15 of 18.
"Yeah, I thought (Revelle) was very positive," said Hutchins when asked about watching Revelle interact with her players during the series. "She is committed to making the team better."
Nebraska made some improvements toward the end of the season but missed the NCAA Tournament for a third straight year. According to a source, Nebraska does not have any players currently in the transfer portal.
"What's interesting is not one kid has transferred out of her program (this offseason)," Hutchins said. "And transferring now is easier than changing hairstyles. So how come nobody is leaving the program if it's so bad?"
Other coaches have been just as strong in their support of Revelle, who just completed her 27th season with the program. Big Ten coaches are backing Revelle on social media, and so, too, is the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
On Wednesday, Michigan State coach Jacquie Joseph tweeted, "I support (Revelle) unequivocally. Her character is beyond reproach. Period."
Alabama coach Patrick Murphy responded, "And the SEC. #STANDWITHRHONDA."
Hutchins is one of the biggest softball voices in the country and in the NFCA. She has won 1,571 career games and a national championship in 35 seasons at Michigan, the Big Ten's top softball program in terms of success. She and Revelle have been friends since 1989 when Revelle was an assistant coach at San Jose State. Since then, both have played key roles in the growth of college softball.
Hutchins said she has seen other coaches go through situations similar to Revelle's.
"Not all of them lost their jobs, and not all of them became public," Hutchins said. "But universities keep everything with a lid on it, because then they shape the narrative. And the narrative needs to be out there and I'm glad it's out there, because Rhonda deserves the support she's getting.
"Rhonda is the most loving, compassionate person out there."