Insell Returns To Old Stomping Grounds

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Insell will lead the Rebels against his former Kentucky team on Thursday night.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Insell will lead the Rebels against his former Kentucky team on Thursday night.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 13, 2014

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss head coach Matt Insell returns to Memorial Coliseum, where he sat at the home team bench and roamed the sidelines for the previous five seasons as an assistant coach for Kentucky, as the Rebels travel to Lexington, Ky., for a midweek matchup with the Wildcats.

Insell helped guide Kentucky to four 20-win seasons, four NCAA Tournament appearances and three trips to the Elite Eight in his time in Lexington, which he credits for his growth and development as a coach and the opportunity to become an SEC head coach.

"My time at Kentucky is the reason I'm here today," Insell said. "It's something that I cherish. Looking back on my five years there, and the people that I got to meet when I was there and the people that I became good friends with still to this day, and there are memories there that I will never forget.

"There are games that I can rewatch from my time at Kentucky that I can still get emotional from because of how big of a win it was in helping building that program into the program it is today because it was not that six years ago when we got there. Over that five years, I was a part of helping that program become what it is today, and that's something I take a lot of pride in."

In his five seasons at Kentucky, Insell coached alongside seventh-year Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell, and they helped turn Kentucky into a national power in women's basketball.

The two remain great friends and they talk usually at least once a week, sometimes two or three times a week. From Mitchell, Insell learned the value of consistency and the process of building a program.

"The most important that I have tried to implement in this program that we did at Kentucky was consistency," said Insell, referencing the turnaround at Kentucky, as well as similar turnarounds at South Carolina in women's basketball and Indiana in men's basketball.

"If I come in today and let yesterday affect me today, then I'm not going to get better today, and so I have to come in with that same consistent attitude. That's something that Matthew taught me, and that's something that I always take with me. It's being consistent every day with every thing that you do and attacking every day to win that day and not let yesterday's result affect today's result."

The unfamiliar feeling of returning to Kentucky, Insell said, will really hit him when he walks out before the game and goes down the away team bench, having sat on the home team bench for the previous five seasons.

It will also hit Insell when he sees many of his former players, really for the first time since he was named Ole Miss head coach. Insell remains supportive of them, now watching Kentucky as a fan, adding that he wants them to win every game except for one, and that's the game against Ole Miss.

"It was pretty cool after we won our first SEC game that several of their players reached out to me and congratulated me on our first SEC win over Mississippi State," Insell said. "I think the world of those players.

"I sat in those players' houses with Coach Mitchell and we convinced those kids to come to Kentucky, so they will always have a special place in my heart. Some of the ex-players that played for us when I was there have also reached out to let me know that they will be at the game and they're going to come by shootaround."

As much as Thursday will be about recounting old memories and reuniting with the people who supported him from his time in Lexington, Insell's focus is on how he can help his players win against Kentucky and get his team back going so they can end this last part of the season on a high note.

"Don't play this out of, `Coach, we are going to do this for you,' said Insell, aware that him returning to Kentucky will be on the minds of his players. "Let's do this for Ole Miss. Let's do this for us. Let's do this for our team and let's get a big win to help us continue in our process of building our program to get our program back to where we want it to get to."

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

 

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Aug. 25-31)

      Monday, September 1, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewAug. 25-31, 2014Football- No. 18 Ole Miss opened the 2014 season with a 35-13 win over Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.- The Rebels led 7-6 entering the fourth quarter... read more

    • ESPN's Chucky Mullins Documentary to Debut Thursday

      Monday, September 1, 2014 - Football

      The SEC Storied documentary "It's Time," centered on the the inspirational friendship between former Vanderbilt football player Brad Gaines and former Ole Miss football player Chucky Mullins, will premiere on Tuesday on the Vanderbilt campus and will debut on... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Aug. 31

      Sunday, August 31, 2014 - Athletics

      This is a new concept we've created for the Ole Miss Sports Blog that we're calling Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations... read more

    • What They're Saying: Ole Miss-Boise State

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      The No. 18 Ole Miss football team won the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game defeating Boise State 35-13. The Rebels move into Southeastern Conference next week with a road test at Vanderbilt from Nashville's LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. The... read more

    • 'The New Normal' on Defense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- Boise State had been the highest scoring team in the nation, averaging 40.2 points per game dating back to the 2000 season.  Highlighted by four interceptions, eight tackles for loss and big hits by several different players, the... read more

    • Second-Half Surge for Rebel Offense

      Friday, August 29, 2014 - Football

      ATLANTA -- After an up-and-down first half, which included a touchdown and three interceptions, senior quarterback Bo Wallace and the Ole Miss offense found their stride in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter. Leading 7-6 early in the... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Boise State Motivational

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Boise State Official Team Motivational '14 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Boise State

      Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as Ole Miss opens its 2014 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Boise State from Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Contrast in Experience Boise State has one of the youngest teams in the country with 67 freshmen... read more

    • Volleyball Opens Steven McRoberts Era

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Volleyball

      Here are three pieces to keep in mind as we look ahead to the Ole Miss volleyball team's season-opening weekend in Buffalo, New York, starting with Canisius on Friday morning, the first of four matches over three days at the... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1

      Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 1 (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Dome, Sweet Dome for Atlanta Area Rebels

      Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - Football

      For high school football players in Georgia, all roads lead to the Georgia Dome and the state championships.  For a handful of Rebels, those roads lead home, as Ole Miss opens the 2014 season against Boise State in the Chick-fil-A... read more

    • VIDEO: Forward Together Construction Update

      Monday, August 25, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • Relentless is the Word on Defense

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Football

      ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy asked each of the 65 coaches from the Power Five conferences to describe their team in one word.  Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's word? Relentless. The same can be said of the Ole Miss defense.  And... read more

    • McCormick, Defense Shine in Win

      Sunday, August 24, 2014 - Soccer

      After playing 110 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Georgia on Friday night, Ole Miss responded with a gutsy 1-0 win over Iowa State on Sunday afternoon. The defense, led by senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick was the story of the... read more

    • Rebels Battle to Draw on Historic Night

      Friday, August 22, 2014 -

      Big time crowd for @SECNetwork live sports event debut. Record attendance of 1,823 for @OleMissSoccer Let's finish strong.-- Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) August 23, 2014 Ole Miss kicked off the 2014 season in thrilling fashion, rallying to a 1-1 draw with... read more