OXFORD, Miss. – Matt Insell, who has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach with the nationally-ranked University of Kentucky women’s basketball program, has been named head coach of the Ole Miss women’s basketball team, athletics director Ross Bjork announced today.
Insell has helped guide Kentucky to four 20-win seasons and four trips to the NCAA Tournament in his time in Lexington. The Wildcats have ended the last three seasons ranked in the top-25 and are currently ranked No. 7 heading into the team’s Sweet Sixteen game Saturday.
Insell, who was responsible for the guards while also having recruiting and player development duties, served as the top assistant coach and helped UK ink three top-10 recruiting classes and seven McDonald’s All-Americans.
“I’m very excited to be the new women’s basketball coach at the University of Mississippi,” Insell said. “This is an opportunity I’ve had my eye on for a long time and I just can’t put into words how excited I am to be leading this team. I promise you this – we are going to put a team on the floor that is going to make the Rebel Nation very happy.
“I want to thank Matthew Mitchell and the University of Kentucky for allowing me to be a part of the Big Blue Nation for the past five years. I am thankful to all the players I’ve had the pleasure of coaching and they will always hold a special place in my heart. I am committed to finishing my job at Kentucky on a high note as we prepare to take the floor in the Sweet 16 on Saturday.”
Insell has been instrumental in helping turn Kentucky into a national power in women’s basketball. Picked to finish 11th in the SEC during the 2009-10 season, Kentucky made an Elite Eight run that year and another during the 2011-12 season. This season, the team has advanced to the Sweet 16 while recording a 29-5 overall record.
During his time at Kentucky, Insell helped develop guard A’dia Mathies, a two-time SEC Player of the Year and All-America candidate, and Bria Goss who was named SEC Freshman of the Year.
“We are thrilled to welcome Matt Insell to the University of Mississippi and the Ole Miss family as our new women’s basketball coach,” Bjork said. “Our search to find the right head coach took us to all corners of the country as we attracted top coaches from the basketball community. Coach Insell has coaching in his veins and was destined to be a head coach from day one. Coach Insell is viewed by many in college athletics as the top assistant coach in the country and his expertise in game planning, strategy, recruiting, and the student-athlete experience has been well chronicled.
“Being part of a re-building job at the University of Kentucky has enabled Coach Insell to gain the necessary requirements needed of our new staff as we re-capture the legacy that is Lady Rebel Basketball. He is the perfect fit to make this happen and we are excited he is joining our team. We wish him and the UK team well in the rest of the NCAA tournament.”
Prior to Kentucky, Insell was the Director of Basketball Operations at Louisiana Tech under Coach Chris Long. Before that, he was considered one of the top AAU coaches in the country, coaching the Tennessee Flight, a Nike Elite Travel Program, for three years.
Insell made a national name for himself after coaching 41 of his former AAU players to play Division I basketball, including former Wildcats Victoria Dunlap and Crystal Riley. He also coached the Shelbyville Sports Shop 15-Under team to the AAU National Championship title in 2004.
Insell, 30, earned valuable basketball experience while attending the University of Tennessee from 2001-2005. He worked closely with both the men's and women's basketball programs, serving as a student assistant/video coordinator under former men's head coach Buzz Peterson and as an instructor at Pat Summitt's summer basketball camps. The Shelbyville, Tenn., native transferred to Middle Tennessee State during the 2005-06 season where his father, Rick Insell, is the head women's basketball coach. He went on to earn his bachelor's degree in political science from MTSU in 2007.