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 (Oct. 13-19)

      Monday, October 20, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 13-19, 2014Football- Ole Miss rode its dominant defense to a 34-3 homecoming win over Tennessee on Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play.- The Rebels are 7-0 for just... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Oct. 19

      Sunday, October 19, 2014 - Athletics

      It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations surrounding the Homecoming festivities this weekend. Let's get into it:1. When "College GameDay" visits Baton Rouge,... read more

    • Winning Formula for Rebels is No Secret

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      The winning formula revealed itself as it has throughout the season: a dominant defense and a mistake-free offense. The Ole Miss defense forced four turnovers, while the Ole Miss offense did not commit a single turnover in a workmanlike 34-3... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Tennessee Motivational

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Tennessee Official Team Motivational from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Tennessee

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss faces Tennessee for Homecoming on Saturday.'Third Down for What'Tennessee is very dangerous, Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze said, because its talented, particularly if it gets momentum and confidence during... read more

    • SEC Nation Talent Talks Ole Miss on Visit

      Friday, October 17, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from today's media opportunity with SEC Nation host Joe Tessitore and analysts Tim Tebow and Marcus Spears discussing the show's visit to Oxford for the SEC matchup between No. 3 Ole Miss and Tennessee. Tessitore recalls calling the first college... read more

    • What They're Saying: Midseason Honors

      Friday, October 17, 2014 - Football

      At the halfway point of the regular season, Ole Miss is 6-0 for the first time since 1962, when it went 10-0 and earned a share of the national title. It's No. 3 ranking in the national polls is its... read more

    • Rebels Slow Offensive Tempo

      Thursday, October 16, 2014 - Football

      With a dominant defense that ranks among the nation's leaders in most statistical categories, head coach Hugh Freeze acknowledged he has changed his offensive philosophy and play-calling to limit negative plays and quick possessions. Ole Miss averaged the second-most offensive... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 7

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 7 - Texas A&M (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Freeze Talks Defense, Tennessee

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Oxford. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at... read more

    • VIDEO: Studio 18 Live 10.15.14

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • VIDEO: 'Can't Be Denied' Hype Video

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • VIDEO: Bo Wallace on The Dan Patrick Show

      Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • Game-Manager Bo

      Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - Football

      Head coach Hugh Freeze admitted the offense played well enough to manage the game and let the defense win it.  Ole Miss leaned on its running game, rushing for 160 yards on 35 carries, while Bo Wallace completed 13-of-19 passes... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Oct. 6-12)

      Monday, October 13, 2014 - Rifle

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 6-12, 2014Football- The No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels showed they belong among the nation's upper crust with a dominating 35-20 win at No. 14 Texas A&M on Saturday.- Ole Miss jumped out to a... read more