Photo and video by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
This past Sunday afternoon, Middle Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Rick Insell learned that he would be one of six members enshrined into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as a part of the 2017 class.
Just a few days have passed since the news broke and despite being bestowed with the honor, Insell was just ready to get back to his normal routine.
“It didn’t feel any different,” Insell said about waking up Monday as a future Hall of Famer. “As a matter of fact, I was more excited about getting here to practice than I was anything.”
After receiving the news of his induction, Insell was flooded with a host of text messages, emails, phone calls and tweets, all of which held an equal value of importance.
“I got a lot from my professional friends, close friends, and coaches,” Insell said. “From [Sunday] afternoon around 1:30 p.m. until [Sunday] night at 12:30-1:00 a.m., I was still getting texts, e-mails, and everything else.”
Before being hired by MTSU, Insell coached the local Shelbyville Central High School Eaglettes for 28 years. Going down as the one of the best high school coaches of all time, he led Central to 10 state championships, with two of those teams earning national title status.
Just this week, Geno Auriemma and his UCONN Huskies stretched their win-streak to 100 games. While that number is absurd to comprehend, Insell did it first. In fact, from 1989-1992, his teams didn’t lose a game. Their 110 wins in a row are still a state record and will likely go untouched.
Since joining forces with MTSU in 2005, Insell has led the Lady Raiders to a combined 15 conference championships to go along with nine NCAA Tournament appearances. Overall, Insell holds a 1,067-243 record.
Although Insell already had a slew of accolades and trophies tied to his illustrious coaching career, being told he was going into the Hall of Fame was still a very surreal moment for him.
“You just don’t get into this and think ‘Hey, I’m going to be in the Hall of Fame’,” said Insell. “I had a passion for what I did. I came to work every day and gave everything I had every day.”
Coach Insell, like any other great coach, didn’t wake up and become a Hall of Fame head coach. He had to pay his dues as he knew his time would come.
“I went above the call of duty,” said Insell. “There were times we had to sweep the floors and do the concessions and cook the hamburgers. I never thought anything of it, I just did it.”
Only one name gets etched into the Hall of Fame plaque. However, Insell believes each of the soon-to-be 157 inductees doesn’t get into the hall alone.
“One person just doesn’t make the Hall of Fame,” Insell stated. “It’s our family, it’s our players, it’s our fan base, and it’s everybody. And thank goodness that I’m in good enough health that I’ll get to share it with all of them.”
Follow MTSU Lady Raider beat writers David Chamberlain (@D_Chamberlain_) and Keenan Taylor (@keenantaylor_) on Twitter for more coverage.
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