NASHVILLE – Middle Tennessee head women’s basketball coach Rick Insell has been included as one of 10 inductees into the 2012 class of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, according to an announcement Sunday by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors.
“There is not a word out there that I can use because I am honored and humbled,” Insell said. “There is so many people, past and present, that are responsible – players, administrators, etc. I know the reason I am being inducted is because of the work that they did and I was the one in charge, more or less.”
Insell will join his fourth Hall of Fame with the honor. He previously has been included as a member of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association Hall of Fame (2003) and National High School Hall of Fame (2007), as well as the 2010 recipient of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s Morgan Wootten Award for Lifetime Achievement for High School Girls’ Basketball.
The Woodbury native entered his seventh season at Middle Tennessee in 2011-12, having earned five NCAA Tournament appearances, coached five All-Americans and had three of his players picked to the WNBA in his previous six years. He entered the campaign with a 148-47 (.759) ledger to go along with his four Sun Belt regular-season championships and four Sun Belt Tournament titles and with six wins already this season, he has moved into third place on the school’s all-time list.
Prior to leading the Lady Raiders' program, Insell coached for 28 years (1978-2005) at Shelbyville Central High School in Shelbyville. He logged a 775-148 (.840) record with the Golden Eaglettes, guiding them to a state-record 10 TSSAA Class 3A state championships and two USA Today national championships.
“Most of my work had been done in the community in Shelbyville," Insell said. "The administration there allowed me to go across the country and play the best teams. They invested in me, Rick Insell, but also in our program. And when I came to Murfreesboro, I know that played a small part, but still the people here, I will forever be thankful to them. And I am very proud to be a part of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.”
He said he was excited about the nomination.
“But more than anything, when you get into coaching and you take those long bus trips and clean up the gyms, you don’t think about getting into the Hall of Fame," he said. "You take those different teams you have and the different championship you win, but not one time I can honestly say when I was putting a game plan together did the thought of going into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame cross my mind.”
A name synonymous with high school girl’s basketball in the state, Insell’s teams hold the Tennessee state records for consecutive wins (110), consecutive state titles with four (1989-92) and most state championships for a coach with 10 (1986-89-90-91-92-95-2000-01-03-04).
“Because of our success at Shelbyville, that’s why I’m included in this special group," he said. "I am so, so very appreciative and don’t know where to start when thanking people, teams and players."
His 1991 Golden Eaglette squad was selected as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Team of the Year, the first high school team to be honored.
The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit institution located inside the Bridgestone Arena in the heart of downtown Nashville. The induction banquet will be held Saturday, May 19, 2012, at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.
Rick Insell, Shelbyville Central High School
James Marsalius, Tennessee State University
Gene Bartow, Memphis State University
Bill Dance (Lynchburg, Tenn.)
Tim Jackson, Tennessee Golf Association
Gibby Gilbert II, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Zan Guerry, Tennis
David Walker, ETSU
Brigadier General Austin Connor Shofner (Posthumous), Bedford County, Tenn.
Jeff Byrd (Posthumous), NASCAR